Social security bill passes amid protests

The bill, which is a precondition for the approval of the next tranche of a $3.6 billion IMF loan package, brings about radical changes for employees.

Social security bill passes amid protests

The long-debated social security bill, which is backed by the International Monetary Fund, was passed by Parliament late Thursday after an extensive revision process during which nationwide strikes, protests and rejections by the Constitutional Court were also observed.

The law will take effect as of Oct. 1. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will apply to the Constitutional Court for annulment of the law, which drew harsh protests from large segments of society across the country, including labor unions and nongovernmental organizations.

The government and labor unions reached a partial agreement on the reform package last month, while prominent labor unions are still opposed to the bill, announcing their intention to fight the reform bill.

The social security reform is considered key to maintaining Turkey's fiscal balances as the welfare system runs a large deficit partly due to widespread early retirement. The current pension law allows individuals to retire in their late 30s or early 40s. The bill aims to balance the accounts of the social security system, which generates huge losses and Parliament's passage of the social security bill as a whole is a condition for the approval of the next tranche of a $3.6 billion IMF loan package.

RETIREMENT AFTER 7,200 WORK DAYS AT 65 IN 2048

The retirement age, which is currently 58 for women and 60 for men, will be gradually raised to 65 for both women and men by 2048, while some pensions will decrease, according to the law. Employees will therefore not be able to retire before the age of 65 after 2048. The number of working days required to be eligible to receive a pension, meanwhile, has been raised from 7,000 to 7,200.

Those who become public employees for the first time after the bill comes into force, will be included in the general health security coverage.

Women who have dependent children can retire after working for a period of 20 years instead of 25.

Public employees who are born handicapped will be able to retire after having worked 15 years, if they wish to do so.

The new bill stipulates that some professional groups, including airline workers, deputies, State Theater artists, members of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, postal workers, state theater workers, journalists and some others will no longer receive extra compensation for occupational "wear and tear." The right to demand a service provided bonus that affects these occupational groups wasn't protected in the bill.

ARTISTS, PROSTITUTES, TRAINERS TO BE COVERED

Those who are selected president or administrative board members of labor unions and confederations, as well as film and theater artists, singers, stringed instrument artists, authors, prostitutes and trainers who are employed by one or more employer will also be covered.

Those who work at home, except those working for a wage and permanently, will not be included in the coverage system. Turkish workers who are taken by employers to countries with which Turkey has no social security agreement will be subjected to the social security provisions in Turkey.

MATERNITY LEAVE ALLOWANCE AND DEATH PENSION

Employees will be paid a daily allowance during absenteeism in the case of an illness or during pregnancy. Female employees, non-working spouses of male employees with coverage and members of the Insurance Fund for the Self-Employed (Bağ-Kur) will be able to enjoy the maternity leave allowance. A premium payment of at least 120 days is required in order to benefit from the maternity leave allowance.

A premium payment of at least 800 days is required of public servants and Bağ-Kur members to benefit from pensions in case of death. The figure will be 900 premium days in five years for members of the Social Insurance Institution (SSK).

Private and foundation hospitals cannot demand arbitrary compensation from the patient. Compensation is limited to 20 percent of the overall treatment cost. University hospitals can demand extra payment for the services provided by professors or for exceptional health care services.

GREEN CARD TO BE ABOLISHED

Deputies, their relatives as well as members of the national intelligence agency who serve in Emergency Rule Regions (OHAL) will not be included in the pension system. All types of needs, including prosthesis and some other equipment, for war veterans will be covered without any limitations. Women who use their maternity leave could become indebted in that period to the system. Women will be able to enjoy this right twice and not for more than two years.

The implementation of the green card, given to those who do not belong to any social security system, will be abolished two years after the bill comes into effect. Green card holders will then be included in the new security system.

Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2008, 09:59
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