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Bulgarian Labor Minister Makes U-turn on Insurance Fees.

The mandatory insurance fees in Bulgaria might go up in January, 2011, to counter the deficit of the National Social Security Institute (NOI), according to Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov.

In a Monday interview for the Bulgarian daily "24 Chassa" (24 Hours), Mladenov says the move might become necessary if the NOI revenues fail to increase, disproving his earlier statements insurance contributions are to remain at their current level.

"We [the cabinet] will propose to our social partners [employers and labor unions] to wait for a few months longer and see if the measures to increase the collection of revenues will yield positive results; if not we will prepare a schedule to increase insurance fees as early as next year. From now on, everything depends not only on NOI, but on the loyalty of the Bulgarian business," Mladenov is quoted saying.

The Council of Ministers is to examine and debate Wednesday the NOI proposals on measures to increase revenue collection. The current retirement reform plan aims at reducing the NOI deficit by BGN 70 M in 2011, BGN 340 M in 2012 and BGN 670 M in 2013.

In the interview, the Minister reiterates the number of years of service required for retirement will increase gradually beginning January 1, 2011, by 1 in 2011 and with 1 more in 2012 and 2013 each to reach the planned 37 years for women (currently 34) and 40 years for men (currently 37). The retirement age will remain 60 years for men and 57 years for women, Mladenov confirms, but adds the latter is subject to change in a year or two. People, who want to take early retirement with lower pensions because they do not have the required years of service will no longer be able to do so, the reform provides.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Date:Aug 2, 2010
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