Dec 15, 2023

The traditional, already 22nd, Festival of the Third Age, the largest event of its kind for the elderly in Europe, was held in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, in which the Trade Union of Pensioners of Slovenia (SUS) also participates every year. As part of the three-day festival, there are also various round tables dealing with the problems of the elderly and pensioners. This year, SUS also organized one of these tables on the topic “From the minimum wage to a decent pension”, which was attended by representatives of the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS), the Ministry of Labour, Trade Union SPI-CGIL of Friuli Venezia- Giulia and the Faculty of Economics, and the moderator was Metka Roksandič, vice-president of SUS.

The topic focused on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights on the right to a minimum income for both active people and pensioners, the elderly and the self-employed, namely how to implement the right to a minimum income for pensioners, what is the criterion for determining the level: whether the poverty treshold, the ratio to the average wage, the basket of living expenses, etc. The most important thing is to be aware of the importance of the minimum wage and the minimum pension in a sufficient amount as an income for life. As moderator, Metka Roksandič said in the introduction, this topic is particularly relevant this year, as we are still living in a time of high inflation, high growth in food prices, which was not reflected in the maintenance of the value of pensions, but in their decline.

In the discussion, it was emphasized that in Slovenia, the pension system has a wide range of exceptions, different bases for paying contributions, and in addition, people enter the labour market at the age of 35. The result of this is that we have a bunch of people who have paid contributions for 40 years of working life, but do not receive the minimum statutory pension. A decent minimum wage has a significant impact on a decent pension, so it is very important what the minimum wage is, what its definition is and what its coordination is. It has been stressed that the current minimum pension is in no way sufficient for a decent life, as it is too low.

When asked by the moderator on how to ensure decent pensions our country, the panellists emphasized that Slovenia is a welfare state that must enable all people to live a decent life. The biggest problem in harmonizing pensions and decent pensions is financial resources, as the pension fund currently does not have sufficient funds to pay all pensions and the lack of funds has to be drawn from the state budget. Therefore, perhaps one of the solutions is to revive the idea of a demographic reserve fund. The missing funds could then be used from it to pay pensions.