Who risks losing the pension?

By falling into the trap of pensionable service period

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Pensionable service period trap. Analyses of new pension provision rules

People, who got to the trap of pensionable service (pension contributions period), in fact remain with no means of livelihood.

We do our best to describe this story as scrupulously as possible so that you could evaluate your own state and correct your economic behavior if needed.

  • Protection

    First of all one should check if (s)he has not become more vulnerable after the introduction of new pensionable service rules

  • Payment

    Besides, our advice is to check if your employer pays pension contributions for you. One can check it by contacting appropriate territorial Social Security Fund office

  • Scenario

    Because of the Decree № 233 you have to choose the scenario for pension receiving. One should think considerately, which of variants is better for him

To receive labour pension one should pay pension contributions to Social Security Pension Fund. This is done by taxpayer himself or by his employer. Period when one pays contributions is named pensionable service. It should not be (for your own sake) mixed with employment record, which in Belarus includes other activities’ time: university, military service etc.

For the short period of time (a bit more than 2 years) the period of pensionable service, which one must have to draw a pension has grown from 5 to 16 years Increase of pensionable period was regulated by the next Decrees: № 389 dated September 3, 2013 — has increased the period to 10 years starting January 1, 2014, № 570 dated December 8, 2014 – has increased the period to 15 years starting January 1, 2015, № 534 dated December 31, 2015 — has increased the period to 15,5 years and has established further increase for half a year annually until 20 years . It keeps on growing and in 2025 it will be 20 years. Besides, retirement age Starting January 1, 2017 retirement age increases for half a year annually till reaching 63 and 58 years by men and women in 2022. This is regulated by the Decree № 137 dated April 11, 2016 and social pension Starting January 1, 2015 social pension is 65 years for men and 60 years for women. Age limit does not concern pensions for disabled children, disabled since childhood and children who have lost family provider. This is regulated by the Decree № 570 dated December 8, 2014 age have also increased.

Changes of pensionable period and pension age

Changes of Pensionable Period 10 years From January 1, 2014 under the Decree № 389 dated September 3, 2013 15 years From January 1, 2015 under the Decree № 570 dated December 8, 2014 Annual 6 months increase till reaching 20 years From January 1, 2016 under the Decree № 534 dated December 31, 2015 15 years From January 1, 2015 under the Decree № 570 dated December 8, 2014 2014 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 2025 5 years 20 years Changes of Pension Ages Increases for half a year annually till reaching 63 years for men and 58 years for women under the Decree № 137 dated April 11, 2016 For men: 60 years For women: 55 years From January 1, 2015 under the Decree № 570 dated April 11, 2016 2017 18 19 20 21 2022 For men — 60 years 63 years For women — 55 years 58 years

Moreover no exceptions and no transitional periods are set aside for the people who reach retirement age during new developments and do have sufficient quantity of pensionable service according to old rules (not less than 5 years). The issue is that they do not have enough pensionable service according to new rules. This people cannot receive neither labour pension on a regular basis nor a social pension. In fact they have no chances to be employed and to pay their bill.

That is the essence of pensionable service period trap.

Sviatlana Anatolieuna, persona portrait

Sviatlana Anatolieuna

55 years old chemistry teacher from Dubrouna

Her labour service period is 26 years
and pensionable service period is 11 years.

She has got to the trap of pensionable service period.

1980 85 90 95 2000 05 10 15

1980–85

5 years of study at the University.

1985–89

4 years of school work.

1989–93

Gave birth to a child, and the the second one. 4 years of maternity leave.

1993–94

Back to school with critically low income.

1994–2002

Worked as suitcase trader, then as seller at the market (no official employment) and looked for a new job.

2002–09

7 years at school.

2009–14

Nursed disabled mother-in-law.

с 2014 года

Is looking for constant job, but it is not easy for an aged woman in a small town.

Read people’s stories here.

According to data of the Ministry of labour in 2015 there were about 1000 people, who has fallen into the trap of non-pension service. Their quantity will be increasing.

Besides new rules of pension provision are antedated. They have made several groups of people especially vulnerable. Among them are people on maternity leave, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and milicyiaTranslator’s note: Belarusian police, people who nurse the aged etc.

New Decree of Belarus President № 233 dated June 29, 2017 «About pension provision to specific categories of citizens» has come into effect on August 1, 2017. It was framed inter alia due to our efforts. It alleviates the state of some vulnerable groups in future, but does not settle the issue of the pensionable service trap in full.

Changes of several groups state according to the new Decree

Click the category to read full text

Non-official employment
No

No positive changes

People who had sufficient pensionable service period according to old rules and do not have it now

Some people got trapped because no exceptions and no transitional periods were set aside for the people who reach retirement age during new developments and do have sufficient quantity of pensionable service according to old rules (not less than 5 years). The issue is that they do not have enough pensionable service according to new rules.

First of all it concerns people without official employment who survived as best they could during and after so-called “freewheeling 1990s” (the first post-Soviet decade).

These people cannot draw neither a retirement pension on a general basis nor social pension.

State of these people did not undergo any positive changes.

The only solution in this situation could be announcement of transitional period for the people who will reach retirement age in the nearest future.

Socially useful activity Socially useful activity
Partly

Some issues are solved

People who were involved into community service over a protracted period (for example, have been nursing 1st group invalids or aged 80 and over)

People who were involved into community service over a protracted period (for example, have been nursing 1st group invalides) have fallen to the pensionable service trap and have lost rights for pension.

The issue is that the state fixes this period in employment book and pays them out, but does not include their work into pensionable service. This people just have run out of time to accumulate needed period of pensionable service (16 years as for 2017, and the number will be increasing in future).

By law, however, sitting with 1st group invalid cannot be combined with any type of job.

Besides the pensionable service trap, the state of the people, who have been nursing a 1st group invalid or a person aged 80 was complicated by the fact that after reaching their own retirement age they could not receive сare allowance anymore. Even if they didn’t draw a pension as having no pensionable record.

In some way the logic of community service is taken into account.

Periods of community service are still not included into pensionable service but period of pensionable service is lowered tо 10 years for these people.

However overall employment record period has grown for this group of people. It is now not less than 35 years for women and not less than 40 years for men. Whilst for other categories (those who possess 16 years of pensionable service essential for 2017) overall employment record period is 20 and 25 years respectively.

Now therefore the Decree has established pension provision of this group of citizens more soft and fair, the problem is not solved in full measure. Constantly growing employment record period may block pensions for many people.

The Decree has resolved this conflict. Now this group may keep on receiving care allowance until social pension entitlement. This period is counted as part of overall employment record period.

Military service
Yes

The state is improved

People on military service, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, law-enforcement agencies, and persons set equal to them

There is a discrimination of people on military service, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, law-enforcement agencies, and persons set equal to them.

During the period when these people are on service, the state does not pay pension contributions for them as their employer. If they resign before tenure of 20 years of time-in-service, they draw pension on the usual terms. It means that for example a high-toned miliсyja officer, being fired after 19 years of successful service will have to find a new job and perform a period of needed pensionable contributions (no less than 16 years at least for the current moment).

People on military service, officers of s law-enforcement agencies, and persons set equal to them have their state ameliorated.

Period of their service is still not counted as pensionable.

If these people by some reason do not serve until administrative pension and are fired earlier they will have to accumulate 10 years of pensioned service for drawing a pension on a general basis. Before the Decree № 233 16 years were needed.

They also need to accumulate minimal overall employment record: 20 years for women and 25 years for men. Service time is counted as part of overall work service.

Still this moderate approach is actual only for those people who have served not less than 10 years.

On practice it means that for example a high toned milicyja servant who was fired after 9 years of the service will need to find an employer and accumulate pensionable service not less than 16 years as for now.

Why new rules of pension provision are not just unfair but do violate human rights and the Constitution of Belarus.

Here we describe the rules established by Decrees № 389 dated September 3, 2013, № 570 dated December 8, 2014, № 534 dated December 31, 2015 Позже положения данных указов были закреплены в новой редакции Закона «О пенсионном обеспечении» and № 233 dated June 29, 2017

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The Decrees worsen the state of the people and function in a retroactive way

Decrees function in a retroactive way. It means that they influence the relations which were formed before the Decrees were adopted. Before the Decrees 5 years of pensionable service were enough for people to have legal basis for pension while reaching retirement age. The only demand was overall employment record (25 years for men and 20 years for women).

Now there is no exceptions and no transitional periods are set aside for the people who reach retirement age during new developments and do have sufficient quantity of pensionable service according to old rules. The issue is that they do not have enough pensionable service according to new rules. This people cannot receive neither labour pension on a regular basis nor a social pension. In accordance with the law having reached the retirement age they do not even have the right neither for unemployment compensation nor for addressed social help. In fact they have no chances to be employed and to pay their bill. This is the very core of the subject.

Besides new rules of pension provision are antedated. They have made several groups of people especially vulnerable. Among them are people on maternity leave, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and milicyiaTranslator’s note: Belarusian police, people who nurse the aged etc.

It must be underlined that the Decrees which have aggravated the situation act retroactively. In contrast the Decree № 233 which improves the issue a bit has started only on August 1, 2017 and does not cover the period before.

The Decrees violate the principle of social fair
  1. Before the Decrees 5 years of pensionable service were enough for people to have legal basis for pension while reaching retirement age. The only demand was overall employment record (25 years for men and 20 years for women).
  2. Decrees adoption has lead to the situation when people who were involved into community service over a protracted period and whose activities are not counted as pensionable service have lost the right for pension.

Among them are people on maternity leave, officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and milicyia (Belarusian police), people who nurse the aged etc.

The Decree № 233 softens the situation, but as we see from appeals to BHCBelarusian Helsinki Committee, the problem is not solved in full measure.

In fact the state has refused to execute constitutional guarantee of ensuring the right to a decent standard of living of certain categories of citizens

Many people who have lost the right for pension due to the sharp increase of pensionable service period and the sharp increase of the age for social pension are stripped of their livelihood. This people cannot receive neither labour pension on a regular basis nor a social pension.

It means that they have no possibility to maintain a minimum standard of living, receive quality medical treatment in case of illness and injuries, pay their rent etc.

The Decrees discriminate women

In most of cases women are those who take care of children or 1st group invalides. Periods of such activities are not included into pensionable service.

It must be taken into account that the Decrees establish equal rules for accumulated pensionable service for men and women, while their retirement age remains different. As a result women who nurse children and invalids are placed in particularly vulnerable situation.

Such an approach has indirect discriminative character: appears to be neutral in so far as it relates to men and women, but in practice has a discriminatory effect on women (art. 16, General recommendation № 28, The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women).

Such a practice contradicts prohibition of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (art. 2, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women). In social security schemes that link benefits with contributions, States parties should take steps to eliminate the factors that prevent women from making equal contributions to such schemes (art. 32, General comment № 19, The Committee on economic, social and cultural rights).

The Decree № 570 has placed veterans of work at unequal unfair disadvantage

According to the changes, set out in this Decree, pension calculation is made for a period of the last 21 year of work activities (before one could choose any 5 years from last 15 before retirement age). In the process of pension entitlement such calculation places workers who had relatively high salary at the beginning of working career in unequal position to the workers who have achieved high salaries at late careers.

Veterans of work kept on working after reaching pension age. As a rule those were lower positions with lower salaries. With new pensions order they will receive lesser individual coefficient and their pension size will reduce accordingly.

Such an issue violates constitutional principles of social fair, legal equality and prohibition of discrimination. These principles are the core of declared state politics of Belarus.

The Decrees diverge from declared family support, partially they are blatantly raw

It is impossible to explain the logics of the regulation. From the point of view of pension system a 5 children family is a positive phenomenon and is worth of state support (There is a shortened pensionable service period for the mother of 5 children. It is 5 years). Upbringing of 3 children is also valued as socially useful, and all possible period of childcare (9 years of maternity leave) is included if not into pensionable service period but into overall employment record. But for those who upbring 4 children, nursing fourth child is not included into any service record. So after the third child one better have twins.

Reformation of pension legislation was held without any public discussion

Pension legislation reform was conducted out of public view, without deep analysis of introduced standards enforcement, without wide public debates which take into consideration current social-economic, demographic and gender conditions settled in Belarus.

If any deliberately retrogressive measures are taken, the State party has the burden of proving that they have been introduced after the most careful consideration of all alternatives and that they are duly justified by reference to the totality of the rights provided for in the Covenant, in the context of the full use of the maximum available resources of the State party (art. 42, General comment № 19, The Committee on economic, social and cultural rights).

Categories of people who can get into the trap of pensionable service

Hover the category to see full

Periods of socially useful activity which are not included into pensionable service

Military service

The Decree № 233 has ameliorated the state of people on military service, officers of Ministry of Emergency Situations, law-enforcement agencies, and persons set equal to them.

Period of their service is still not counted as pensionable.

If these people by some reason do not serve until administrative pension and are fired earlier they will have to accumulate 10 years of pensioned service for drawing a pension on a general basis.

Still this moderate approach is actual only for those people who have served not less than 10 years.

On practice it means that for example a high toned milicyja servant who was fired after 9 years of the service will need to find an employer and accumulate pensionable service not less than 16 years as for now.

Also not included into pensionable service:

Shortened period of pensionable service (5 years) is required for the next categories:

Pension scenarios

Resume

Age

rate for men

+2 years

rate for women

+2 years

Increases for half a year annually:
60,5 and 55,5 years in 2017, 61 and 56 in 2018 etc. till reaching 63 and 58 in 2022

Labour service period

rate for men

rate for women

Parental leaves are included (but no more than 9 years) as well as study and military service periods

Pensionable service period

rate for men and women

Increases annually:
16 years in 2017, 16,5 in 2018 etc. till reaching 20 years in 2025

Тип пенсии

Описание

Option 1

You have sufficient pensionable period (16 years in 2017, increases annually for half a year till reaching 20 years) and labour service period (25 years for men and 20 years for women). You will receive labour retirement pension.

Option 2

Your pensionable service period is not sufficient but it is more than 10 years and you have extended labour period (40 years for men and 35 years for women). You will receive labour retirement pension.

Option 3

You have sufficient pensionable service period, but labour period is not sufficient. You can be qualified for partial pension, it is less than labour retirement pension.

Option 4

Your pensionable and labour periods are not sufficient (see options 1 and 2). You can be qualified for social pension. It is the lowest pension and one can draw it only having reached 60 or 65 years (women/men).

Consequently if you get into the pensionable service period trap you have not so many variants:

BHC Initiatives

We take actions to make a difference. In our view at least 4 positions should be taken into account:

To achieve our aims we:

New Decree of Belarus President № 233 dated June 29, 2017 “About pension provision to specific categories of citizens” has come into effect on August 1, 2017. It was framed inter alia due to our efforts. It alleviates the state of some vulnerable groups in future, but does not settle the issue of the pensionable service trap in full.

People’s stories

Ivan Mikalajevich Snitko, former milicyja officer, left without pension

Photo by Aliaxei Sipachou, “Imena” magazine

People whom the state refused to pension. How they survive.

Ivan Snitko is a former milicyja member from the city of Lida. He was struggling for the order in his native city and has apprehended offenders during 19 years. When pension-time came it turned out that people, whom Mr. Snitko used to arrest now have the pension and he, milicyja member, does not. “Some of those whom I detained during milicyja service now say me when we meet each other: ‘So what, Mikalajevich Translator’s note:
A patronymic name used alone as a familiar form of addressing among aged people
does the state take care of you? We receive some money to have bread, and you do not receive a damn’”, — Snitko is sad.

Cash-strapped old age has catched up Viktoryja Piatrouna from Minsk oblastTranslator’s note: region. The woman has nursed people who needed her help during seven years, but at her late years the state has left her without pension. Now her husband and good people help her. Someone brings potatoes, someone apples. Natallia Tapchyjeva from Barysau and many other people live with grudge against the state. “Imena” tell the stories of Belarusians who are left with no pensions in old age.

Axana Bondarava has nursed her son and was left without pension

Photo by Dzmitry Brushko, FINANCE.TUT.BY

“I was equated to those who did not work”. Мother of a disabled works as a cleaner because of the “pension trap”

“I have not passed my child to the state and I will have no normal pension now?” — Axana Bondarava is bewildered. Aged 18 she gave birth to son Igor, and has been taking care of him for 27 years already. Igor has a difficult form of mental disease and needs to be treated as an infant. It goes without saying that the mother who is literally chained to her child could not be employed and has not accumulated not a single day of pensionable period. She is 45 now and she is forced to leave her son with a third person to serve as a cleaner to obtain the right for the pension.

Because of the law changes Volha Ivanauna was left without pension

Photo by Siarhei Hapon, Kp.by

“If I make it to 65 I will have the same pension as some hobo”

— When I was 50 I went to local executive committee and asked: “Can you just tell me in simple words what to do? Should I employ somewhere?” That time one needed five years of pensionable period to receive minimal pension and I had these five years. I was discouraged by them. The reason was that I could only lose allowance while anyone would hardly employ me, — Volha Ivanauna speaks.

Last year Volha Ivanauna has reached the age of 55 years. The law has changed. Her pensionable period has become insufficient.

— When I came to local executive committee with documents I was met by next words: “Oh, a sad story you’ve got”. I say: “Why sad? I have almost 20 years of nursing a 1st group invalid”. They say: “Haven't you read the law?” It turns out that I am a nobody.

Jelizavieta Tamashevicz has nursed her disabled mother during 19 years and was left with no pension

Photo by Viktoryja Herasimava, “Imena” magazine

So get it! How hundreds of pensionless Belarusians have won the right to become pensioneers.

Jelizavieta Tamashevicz from Zaslau’e has nursed her mother during 19 years, but the state has left her without pension. Ivan Snitko is a former milicyja member from the city of Lida. During 19 years he has apprehended offenders and worked as a guard for another 10 years but did not earn the right for pension. About a thousand of pensioneers face the same situation — they have enough of labour period, but do not have enough of pensionable period which forms the pensions. During two years pensionable period has risen sharply from five to fifteen years. Complaints and appeals have spiked to social protection agencies, to the president, to the deputies, to the courts. For more than a year human rights defenders have tried to persuade the state that new pension rules do not correspond to the Constitution. As a result the president has signed the Decree which rescues people from the trap starting August 1, 2017. But it is already obvious that the right for pension is not returned to everyone.

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