The details behind Putin's plan to reform Russia's pension system
In a national address on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin finally weighed in on Russia’s debate about pension reform. The president did what many expected and watered down some of the most controversial aspects of the government’s current plans.
Blessed are the women. Most notably, he proposed raising women’s retirement age by five years (to the age of 60), instead of the eight years currently suggested in the State Duma’s draft legislation. In another olive branch to women, Putin said mothers with multiple children should be granted early retirement, depending on the number of children they bear. (Mothers with three children should be able to retire three years early, mothers with four children four years early, and mothers with five or more children should be permitted to retire at the age of 50, Putin said.)
Early retirement. The president said that people who would have been able to retire in the next two years should be allowed to apply for pension benefits six months before reaching the new retirement age. For the next three years, Putin says the work experience required for early retirement should remain the same: 37 years for women and 42 years for men (instead of the 40/45 split proposed by the State Duma’s current draft legislation).
Protections for senior-citizen laborers. Putin defined “pre-retirement-age” workers as anyone within five years of the pension age, and said employers should face administrative “and even criminal” penalties for firing or refusing to hire these workers. The president also wants to raise unemployment benefits for workers near retirement age from the current 4,900 rubles ($72) a month to 11,200 rubles ($165). The president says he wants workers nearing retirement age to get two days a year to leave work for free medical checkups, and he’s instructing his cabinet to develop a continuing professional development program for pre-retirement-age workers.
Rural workers. Putin also proposed additional payments to unemployed rural pensioners with at least 30 years of work experience in Russia’s agricultural labor force. The president says these individuals should start receiving bonus payments equal to one quarter their retirement benefits. He also wants to keep the benefits currently extended to people living in Russia’s Far North.
Tax breaks and benefits. Until pension reforms are fully implemented, the president wants to keep in place all retirement benefits, including property tax breaks. (Women would enjoy these benefits once they turn 55, and men would get them at the age of 60.) Putin also endorsed United Russia’s initiative to preserve all regional retirement benefits, such as free public transit, utility bill assistance, remodeling and heating benefits, and subsidized prescription medicines.