The Government has achieved this Thursday the necessary support so that the bill for the promotion of public pension plans does not get stuck. To do this, it has agreed, at the proposal of Bildu, to increase non-contributory pensions by 15% (those received by people in a situation of economic vulnerability due to disability or who have not contributed enough to guarantee an ordinary pension. Some cases stand out retirement or disability benefits). In total, some 440,000 pensioners receive this type of non-contributory benefits. The cost of the measure will be around 330 million euros. After the agreement they will see their benefit improved between 60 and 100 euros per month. In the final vote, a total of 19 votes in favor, 12 against and six abstentions have been computed, which refer to the favorable votes of PSOE, United We Can, the Regionalist Party of Cantabria and PNV; the opponents of PP, ERC, Compromís and Ciudadanos; and the neutrality of Bildu and VOX.
The non-contributory benefit is set in 2022 at 5,899.60 euros in full per year, which is paid in 12 monthly installments plus two extraordinary payments per year, according to the website of the Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Imserso). In general, the average monthly amount amounts to 421.40 euros. “The updated individual amount for each pensioner is established based on the aforementioned amount and based on the number of beneficiaries living at the same address, their personal income and/or that of their economic unit of coexistence, and the amount cannot be less than the minimum of 25% of the established one”. In this way, the improvement of the non-contributory pension would rise to 484.61 euros per month.
The agreement with Bildu has its political importance, because it is the way that the Government has found to unblock the law on company pension plans, which had been stuck in Congress for weeks due to lack of support. After negotiating on several fronts, the Executive came to analyze the amendments of Citizens and PP, who demanded more tax incentives for companies, the Government has finally agreed with EH-Bildu to raise non-contributory pensions by 15% and a guarantee to prevent the new public pension fund is financed with Social Security funds, in exchange for their abstention. This has been announced by the training abertzale through a statement, moments before the vote on the bill in the Labor, Inclusion, Social Security and Migration Commission of Congress. The agreement contemplates that the 15% increase be included in the next decree law to extend, until December 31, 2022, the economic response measures to the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
After passing this first phase, the bill will be taken next week to the plenary session of Congress, where José Luis Escrivá has predicted that support for his plan could be “even higher.” However, for the new law to see the light of day, it must first pass through the Senate, which, predictably, will delay its resolution until July. “We hope that with the complementary developments we can have the new reference framework for employment plans fully up and running at the beginning of 2023”, the Minister of Social Security underlined.
The opposition of the main opposition party to the bill has come about as a result of the rejection of one of the proposed amendments, which referred to the limitation of contributions to pension plans. Although the Popular Party has negotiated with the Government the bonus of 10% in corporate tax for companies that make business plans for their workers. This is an initiative that has also been agreed between the Executive and Citizens, in addition to another that will also be included in the presentation and that eliminates the veto on the intervention of the administration in the investments of the pension plan funds.
The bill for the promotion of public pension plans is part of the second part of the pension reform. Its objective is that those workers with lower incomes can access this type of complementary mechanisms. These are public promotion and private management plans that will be established within the framework of collective bargaining. The construction sector was the first to benefit from these plans within the agreement for the signing of the General Collective Agreement for the Construction Sector (CGSC) reached between the National Construction Confederation (CNC) and the CC OO and UGT unions.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
The collective pension plans, designed by Minister José Luis Escrivá as the second pillar of social security, were born with the aim of being a more attractive formula for companies and employees than other types of savings mechanisms. Also for SME workers and the self-employed, two groups in which this type of complement has a smaller presence. To do this, they offer a series of tax incentives to companies, such as deducting up to 10,500 euros from the tax base (in individual companies the maximum amount is 1,500 euros), or that contributions to pension plans are not contributed to Social Security ( with a limit of 115 euros per month per worker).
I missed maximum bases by mistake
The correlation of forces between the parties in favor and those opposed to the Escrivá plan has fundamentally opted for the change in position of United We Can and the agreement with Bildu, which initially showed their rejection of the design of the proposal on the understanding that it opened the door to the “privatization of pensions”. However, UP has ended up voting in favor despite the fact that its deputy in the Commission, Isabel Franco, acknowledged that they do not “like that law” and that they would prefer to talk about “how to strengthen the public pension system” and “how to increase it” the lowest pensions, instead of developing this type of plan. Despite these reluctance, Franco assured that they are not “against” this pillar, since they consider it to be “one more right of the workers.”
One of the most unexpected moments -within a day without starting certainties-, has been the approval of the unstoppable maximum contributions to Social Security that United We Can have proposed, and that has gone ahead thanks to the support of the PSOE by mistake.
According to socialist sources, who downplay the situation, the rise in prices will be corrected in the plenary session next week. They explain that the confusion was the result of an error by the president of the Commission, Antón Gómez-Reino, of United We Can, and the lawyer, which forces the PSOE to present a dissenting vote in the plenary session of Congress to correct this circumstance. Sources from the Ministry of Social Security assure that they are “calm” and trust in being able to reverse this approval, for which, however, the Government will have to obtain the support of the rest of the parties again.
Socialist sources report that “before starting the vote on the amendments, the socialist group has asked the lawyer for the voting script. When the voting has begun, the voting blocks have been formed and changed. The same sources specify: “Arrived at the block of the amendments of United We Can, specifically to the vote on amendments: 57, 58, 59 and 60, the Socialist Parliamentary Group has understood that it voted for the transactional amendment 59 of UP, when it that was being voted on were those block amendments.”
“For this reason,” the Socialists emphasize, “the group will present a dissenting opinion so that it can be corrected in the vote that will take place in plenary session next week.”