by Alexandr Avanesov
Armenian Parliament's opposition parties condemn the work style of the political majority and stand ready to fight for fulfillment of the Constitutional Court's decision together with the public, the four parliamentary opposition parties say in a statement following adoption of the Law On Funded Pension on 21 June.
The authors of the statement - MPs from ARFD, Prosperous Armenia, Armenian National Congress and Heritage Parties, do not recognize the voting on the Law. They claim that the parliamentary majority passed the Law through gross violations of the Parliament's Regulations, as well as by restricting the rights of the opposition factions and parliamentarians. At the latest extraordinary meeting of the parliament, the parliamentary opposition tried to prevent the unlawful attempts of the majority to push through a range of disputable laws that have not been submitted to public discussions and have not been approved by relevant commissions.
"Such work style damages the image of the legislative body and undermine the statehood of Armenia," they say.
Parliament of Armenia passed amendments to the Law On Funded Pension and a number of related laws at the extraordinary meeting on 21 June.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Artyom Asatryan said the amendments look to prevent reduction in income after the funded pension systems comes into effect. The amendments provide for launching the mandatory funded pension system for the employees of the government sector starting 1 July 2014. For the private sector, the system will be gradually introduced on a voluntary basis within three years. The mandatory pension payments that came into effect on Jan 1 2014 will not be charged any longer. Instead, a social-purpose payment in the amount of 5% of the salary will be transferred to the state budget every month.
The ceiling of the salary is 500,000 drams. In case of higher salary, the social-purpose payment must not exceed 25,000 drams. Starting 1 July 2014, the salary of the civil servants will be increased in the following sectors: health care - by 21.5%, education - 13.9%, culture - 29.6% , social security - 21.6%, state government - 47%, civil servants - 68%. With introduction of the new system of salary accounting, the government offers setting additional guarantees for pension insurance. In this light, the Government offers applying the mandatory component of the funded pension only to the civil servants at the initial stage.
As regards the other participants in the system, for them the funded pension will become voluntary for a period of three years. If a person wants to join the system, he will be making relevant social-purpose payments from his salary. If a person refuses to join the system, no payments are charged from his salary, but he falls out of the system. An employee born after 1 January 1974 who will be making social-purpose payments starting 1 July 2014 will have no opportunity to quit the system after changing his job. The Government also suggests introducing the state's participation in accordance with general practices for the 40-50-aged persons wishing to take part in formation of their accumulative pension. If a person gets a minimum salary, his/her social payments will be made by the employer. In case the employee dies, his/her accumulative pension may be transferred to the heirs. For the mothers on the maternity leave, the Government will be paying 5,000 drams and the employer - 3,000 drams.