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Gov’t discusses the final version of special pension regulations. Child allowance – capped at 8,500 lei, as of September

The Government discussed on Friday the final version of an emergency ordinance regulating special pensions, for approval, according to Prime Minister Mihai Tudose.

“Today, finally, there will be the final version; over the last days there would be even four versions a day, at least outside the Government, for the regulation of special pensions,” Tudose said at the beginning of a government meeting on Friday.

At the request of the prime minister, Labour Minister Olguta Vasilescu unveiled elements related to the draft piece of legislation regulating special pensions.

“We have this very important bill that has been and very debated in the public space; we are proposing an emergency ordinance that will say special pensions will no longer increase annually by reference to salary increases, but they would be only adjusted for inflation. This piece of legislation also says that the net value of occupational pensions would no longer be allowed to exceed the average of per diems or net salaries included in the pension calculation base. None of the special pensions currently being paid will be reduced as a result of the adoption of this emergency ordinance,’ according to Vasilescu.

She added that “there is no change in the calculation base and there are no changes in the retirement age either.”

“However, the measures have been taken to eliminate inequities between pensioners, but also because special occupational pensions have surged by 300 percent in recent years as a result of a significant increase in wages in these occupational areas. For example, a special pension set at 7,000 lei in 2010, has now reached 22,000 lei due to correlations with the salary increases made after retirement,” said Vasialescu.

She mentioned that the measures are necessary because “the public pay law provides for significant annual increases in the coming years”.

“That would have generated updating occupational pensions with sums that would have had considerable negative effects on the national budget, from which they are paid. This piece of legislation regulates the pensions of the Interior Ministry (MAI) and National Defence Ministry ( MApN) personnel, intelligence workers, professional civil service workers, the diplomatic corps and the staff of consular offices, the Court of Accounts, the ancillary staff with courts and prosecutor’s offices, parliamentary functionaries, as well as members of Romania’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The magistrates’ pensions are not included in the categories listed above because they are the object of two ongoing constitutional challenges,” said Vasilescu.

She added that also featuring on the agenda of the government meeting are other important items regarding social measures, namely “increases in allowances for disabled persons, and capping the maternity allowance at 8,500 lei, as it is, in fact, the maximum elsewhere in the European Union and in Germany.”

 

Gov’t approves action plan to implement national reform programme, country specific recommendations 

 

The Romanian Government approved on Friday, under a memorandum, an action plan for the Implementation of the National Reform Programme (PNR) 2017 and country specific recommendations for 2017, a document containing 219 actions broken down by stages, deadlines, scoreboards, budgets and responsible institutions, structured on two levels: policies to respond to major economic challenges and Europe 2020 national targets.

According to a press statement released by the Romanian Executive, the National Reform Programme 2017 (PNR), approved by it and submitted to the European Commission in May, continues the reforms that had been undertaken before, while establishing new measures in line with the governance programme 2017-2020.

“At the same time, the PNR responds to the main economic challenges mentioned in the European Commission’s 2017 Country Report on Romania, under which the European Commission proposed in May 2017 country specific recommendations that had been adopted by the EU Council summit of July 2017. The three recommendations addressed to Romania this year relate to reform issues in areas such as fiscal and budgetary policy, employment, education, healthcare, public administration, prioritising public investment and public procurement.”

The implementation of the plan and the recommendations is based on an action plan, prepared annually by the Foreign Ministry (MAE), as the national coordinator of the Europe 2020 Strategy, in collaboration with the central public administration institutions with responsibilities in the above-mentioned areas.

“The plan for the implementation of the 2017 national plan and recommendations comprises 219 actions (detailed by stages, deadlines, scoreboards, budgets and responsible institutions), structured on two levels, according to PNR 2017: policies to respond to major economic challenges and Europe 2020 national goals. The implementation of these actions is the responsibility of the institutions mentioned in the national plan, with the latest developments in the implementation process being assessed regularly under progress reports, drafted by the MAE, with support from the players involved,” the Government informs.

According to the Executive, monitoring the implementation of the action plan is useful in the context of the ongoing dialogue with the European Commission under the European Semester, but it also serves to facilitate early warning about possible delays or slippages in the implementation of the planned measures, allowing the Government to step in the proper forms and at proper times so that the Europe 2020 goals can be achieved and the recommendations implemented.

 

 Child allowance – capped at 8,500 lei, as of September

 

The Government on Friday issued an Emergency Ordinance (OUG) 111/2010, on child allowance, with a maximum ceiling established of 8,500 lei per month.

According to a press release of the Executive, the measure will apply starting September 2017, both for those whose rights in terms of child allowance were established previously to this date and for the new cases.

“According to the new provision, the monthly child allowance will be established in the same way as until now, representing 85 percent of the net income average earned over the past 12 months, with the mention of a secured minimum quantum of 85 percent of the minimum gross wage per country, but with a ceiling set at 8,500 lei”, specified the said source.

According to the same release, by adopting this normative deed, the Executive also clarifies certain aspects related to the granting of an insertion stimulus, especially for such persons who are returning to work by at least 60 days before the actual end of their maternity leave, eliminating thus any misunderstandings related to the application of this at national level.

“The clarifications do not change the manner in which we establish or pay the insertion stimulus, which will remain the same as before”, said the source.

The Executive also specified that, at national level, among the 160,807 beneficiaries of the child allowance, some 1,100 receive allowance above 9,000 lei.

“Currently, we are paying such allowances that are 130 times higher than the minimum allowance. The largest amounts are 159,00 lei and 108,700 lei respectively (paid in Bucharest), 140,000 (paid in Arad), 81,000 lei (paid in Valcea), 74,00 lei (Constanta), with other values between 50,000-60,000 lei recorded in Bucharest, as well as in the Galati, Buzau, Dolj, Arad, Dambovita counties and so on. From the total amount provided by the state for the payment of child allowances, worth approximately 274 million lei, some 130 million (that is 47.4 per cent of the total) are paid to beneficiaries who receive the minimum value of the allowance (that is 85 per cent of the minimum gross wage per economy – 1,233 lei), while 1,100 beneficiaries receive a monthly allowance higher than 8,500 lei, meaning approximately 16 million lei per month (5.9 per cent of the total amount), reads the release.

The Government also mentioned that other EU states have similar programmes, “but not as generous as the one in Romania”.

 

Financial aid for disabled increased as of January 1, 2018

 

The Government on Friday adopted, by means of an Emergency Ordinance, a measure to increase the value of the financial aid granted to people with disabilities, as of January 1, 2018.

According to a press release, the normative act amends Law no. 448/2006 on the protection and promotion of rights of disabled people, so that this category’s integration into society could actually be achieved, including by increasing their weight among the employed, according to the provisions of the National Strategy “A Society Without Barriers for People with Disabilities”.

“One of the most important amendments brought to the Emergency Ordinance refers to the manner in which the quantum of rights granted to people with disabilities will be updated, namely through reference to the Social Reference Indicator (ISR), established through Law no. 76/2002 regarding the unemployment insurance system and for stimulation of employment, to be regularly updated by the Government. Previously, these rights used to be related to the Consumer Price Index (IPC). Increasing financial aid granted to the persons with disabilities in relation to the ISR will take place in two stages: first – starting with January 1, 2018 and the second starting with July 1, 2018”, according to the said source.

The release reveals increases as of January 1, 2018 for:

– the monthly allowance, regardless of the income value, to represent: 65 per cent of ISR for adults with severe disability; 50 per cent for the adults with pronounced disability;

– the complementary monthly personal budget, regardless of the income value, to represent: 25 per cent of the ISR, for the adults with sever disability; 20 per cent of ISR for the adults with pronounced disability: 10 per cent of ISR for adults with average disability;

– social payment for the time during which the parent or the person designated to take care, supervise or have in his/hers maintenance a child with disability, representing: 50 per cent of ISR, in the case of the child with severe disability, 30 per cent in the case of children with pronounced disability and 10 per cent of ISR in the case of children with average disability.

Moreover, there will also be increase, as of July 1st 2018, for:

– the monthly allowance, regardless of the income, representing 70 per cent of ISR for adults with severe disability, 53 per cent of ISR for adults with pronounced disability

– the monthly personal complementary budget, regardless of income representing 30 per cent of ISR, 22 per cent of ISR, 12 per cent of ISR for the adult with average disability.

– social payment for the time during which a parent or a person designated to take care, supervise or have in his/hers maintenance a child with disability, representing: 60 per cent of ISR, in the case of the child with severe disability: 35 per cent of ISR in the case of children with pronounced disability and 12 per cent of ISR in the case of children with average disability.

“Children with disabilities will benefit from an increase in their financial support, as follows: as of January 2018, an 135 per cent increase will be granted for the severe disability cases, 89 per cent for the pronounced disability cases and 28 per cent for the average disability cases. As of July 2018, a new increase will be applied to children with disabilities, of 20 per cent for sever disability, 16 per cent for pronounced disability and 20 per cent for average disability cases”, said the same release.

Moreover, another novelty brought by this normative deed is the obligation of public institutions with more than 50 employees to organize competitions designed for people with disabilities.

“The measure decided on Friday by the Government is included in the 2017-2020 governing programme and, at the same time, it is being put into practice by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in New York in 2006 and ratified in Romania through the Law no. 221/2010”, reads the said release.

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