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POLAND: Government Approves Pension+

The government has passed the draft law which aims to introduce the new Pension + social programme. The plan was announced as part of the PiS party’s pre-election promises in February. The draft bill on a one-time cash benefit for pensioners in 2019 provides for a 13th pension amounting to PLN 1100 gross. The pension will be payed out in May. According to PiS party spokesperson Beata Mazurek, the draft bill will be discussed by the Sejm during the next session on 3-4 April. It remains to be seen how swift the legislative process will be, however in order to meet the set deadlines, it will have to be passed before the end of April.

The additional PLN 1100 pension will change the situation especially for those retirees which receive the lowest benefits.Still, the project does not foresee thresholds and all pensioners will receive the payout. No applications or other formalities will be required. In total there will be approximately 9.8 million beneficiaries (6.96 million retirees and 2.62 million pensioners, and 282 thousand social pensioners) – amounting to costs of PLN 10.8 billion. It remains unclear whether the government will continue with this additional pension in the coming years – especially considering the ongoing discussion regarding the deficit of the 2020 budget. The opposition continues to argue that these are excessive costs which the ruling party uses to secure the support of older voters – the May payout will come only 3 weeks before the European elections. The government, however remains adamant that the state budget is strong enough to take this additional burden – somewhat contradicting PM Morawiecki’s position in regard to remuneration raises for teachers.