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Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

WARSAW, March 5 (Reuters)

Poland wants to encourage older workers to stay in the jobs' market rather than take early retirement to help make up for labour shortages caused in part by the emigration of up to 2 million skilled workers.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk's top labour aide Michal Boni told Reuters the government wanted to drastically cut the number of people retiring early, thereby reducing the heavy cost to the state purse and boosting the labour market.
The government also wants to introduce a new "bridging pension" that would encourage people to remain in the workforce by reducing payouts to those who, under current pension rules, have the right to retire early.
"Our goal is to increase the employment level of people aged over 55 from 28 percent currently, to around 40-42 percent in 2015," Boni said in an interview late on Tuesday.
"There should be 700,000 more of them working by then. By achieving this in 2015 we would catch up with the average European level."
Labour shortages in central Europe's biggest economy, which is rapidly expanding, are pushing up wages and inflation, pressures that explain the new government's six-year plan to lift employment levels.
Boni said consultations with trade unions on the over-50s programme would begin this month. The plan should be approved by the end of the year and be ready to come into force in 2009.
Poland's pensions system allows around 1.3 million people -- mainly teachers, doctors, nurses, or miners -- to retire after 25 or even 15 years of work. That costs nearly 30 billion zlotys ($12.90 billion) a year in pensions.
Boni said the lower "bridging pension" would be paid to those retiring early until they reached the normal retirement age -- 60 for women and 65 for men.
If the number of early retirees were reduced to 140,000 in total, that would cost the state between 80 million and 450 million zlotys a year, he said.
"Bridging pensions are an important part of this reform," Boni said. Consultations with unions will begin this month and he expects them to end in late April.
YOUNGSTERS, ELDERLY, EMIGRANTS AND FOREIGNERS
Labour Minister Jolanta Fedak said the real average age of leaving the labour market in Poland was 56 for women and 58 for men.
"We feel there is a need to increase the labour supply, so we must do all we can to keep people in the market longer," Fedak told Reuters.
"On the other hand we must have more people under 25 employed."
The government also plans to expand professional training to better match workers' qualifications to market needs.
Both Fedak and Boni said change was needed in school programmes, to put more emphasis on educating technicians, engineers, IT specialists, drivers or construction workers.
Economists say qualified construction workers make up the bulk of emigrants who have left Poland since it joined the European Union in 2004 to seek work in Britain and other western countries.
"The biggest shortages are in the construction sector -- about 200,000 jobs. I think IT specialists are next," Boni said.
Some analysts say the migration trend may be reversing and that returning emigrants could make up the labour shortages and help fight growing inflation. In January, it was at 4.3 percent, well above the central bank's 2.5 percent target.
"We are seeing small signs that the number of emigrants is stabilising and there may even have been a slight move downwards recently," Fedak said. "But let's not get over-excited yet."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7360960

Re: Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

"Poland's pensions system allows around 1.3 million people -- mainly teachers, doctors, nurses, or miners -- to retire after 25 or even 15 years of work. That costs nearly 30 billion zlotys ($12.90 billion) a year in pensions."

This is the important point.

Not just these groups, though. It's common practice in the public sector. The sickening thing for other tax and insurance payers is that many of these people are retired and then re-employed in their old job. A nice little earner indeed.

Re: Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

I have always found it strange when I hear my relatives stories about early retirement in Poland, I am always told that it doesn't pay to work if you are offered a pension, what most do is work on the side (cash in hand job) and enjoy having more time complaining about life in poland.
With rising prices I think this will change and Poles will need to work to 65+ like everyone else in the western world.

Re: Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

The trick is to retire early, get your full pension, and then be re-employed in your old job, but with fewer hours. 30 instead of 40, for example. Otherwise you run into tax problems.

Re: Poland seeks seniors solution to labour shortages

Good to see that the new government plans to tackle the problem.