Adequate pensions for each worker

Brahim P. will retire in two years. He has started gathering documents and necessary verifications so as to receive his contributory pension. To receive this pension, which is higher than the basic pension, he needs to provide evidence that he worked for 15 years prior to 1995. He states that providing such evidence is not easy due to the lack of documentation.

“I have the work booklet (a document that records seniority in Kosovo), which contains over 25 years of work experience. However when I applied in the Ministry of Labor for the verification of this experience, they provided me with a document stating that I have only 12 years of work experience prior to 1999. This is unfair and is a violation of my rights as a worker and as a pensioner in the future”, states Brahim.

He did not give up and collected evidence that he has worked 25 years prior to the war. “Now I have a document from my workplace, and several other documents, such as child allowances and annual leave documents, which testify that I was employed”, states Brahim. “I hope that now the Minister will verify all of the evidence I have submitted and will approve the experience that I have. It is not my fault that the ministry does not have documentation and evidence for employed individuals”.

Brahim’s colleague, Rexhep, has been retired for a year and is receiving a basic pension, which applies to those who have never worked. “It is unfair that I am receiving the same pension as my wife who has not worked at all. I took my wife as an example because she is the best illustration. I have been deprived of my right due to the lack of evidence from the state”, claims Rexhep.

Nazmi, a railway worker, is very disappointed with the state of Kosova. He was forced to retire five years prior to reaching his retirement age due to reformation and the drastic decline of railway work after the war. He did not receive any cent for five years as he was not of retirement age.

“I have not contributed to the savings trust because I was laid off. Now I receive a pension of only 140 euros, I have achieved this only after a month of efforts to gather evidence which prove that I have the necessary work experience. This is unfair, I thought of suing the Railway for the lay off and I am consulting with different lawyers”, states Nazmi. He claims that other colleagues as well were laid off and were left with no backup.

“One train driver with an experience of 30 years has worked in different insurance companies, which have violated all of his rights. He can’t even spend time with his family due to extended working hours”, states Nazmi on behalf of his friend.

According to an explanation provided by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the basic pension is a minimal monthly pension which is provided to all citizens of the Republic of Kosova who have reached the age of 65, no matter whether they were employed or not, and who fulfill the criteria foreseen by law. The basic pension is paid to all individuals who are permanent residents of the Republic of Kosova, who possess identification documents, and who have reached the age of 65. The monthly amount of this pension is 75 euro. 

The number of beneficiaries of basic pensions in the first trimester of 2014 was 117,462. This number has increased to 126,212 in the first trimester of 2015.

Whereas, the contributory pension is a regular monthly pension provided to the previously employed citizens of the Republic of Kosova who have paid contributions to the ex-Pension Fund of Kosova prior to January 1st, 1999 according to the provisions of the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance no. 011-24/83 (Official Gazette No. SAPK. 26/83), and who fulfill the criteria foreseen by this law. The right to receive contributory pensions belongs to all individuals who are citizens of Kosova, who have reached the age of 65, who have contributed according to the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance no. 011-24/83 (Official Gazette No. SAPK. 26/83) prior to January 1st, 1999, and who provide valid evidence for the payment of contributions according to the provisions of the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance no. 011-24/83 (Official Gazette No. SAPK. 26/83) prior to January 1st, 1999.

According to KAS, “Individuals who meet the criteria for the contributory pension cannot be beneficiaries of other pension schemes established by this law. [...] The monthly amount of the contributory age pension is 140 euro”.

KAS statistics show that the number of people who have reached the retirement age and who receive 140 euros is lower than the number of people who receive 70 euros. In the first trimester of 2014 only 36,729 individuals received pensions of 140 euro. Whereas, in 2015 this number increased to 38,765.

What we understand from these cases is that the government should think of a new pension contribution model. In cases where employees find it impossible to provide evidence for their work experience for reasons such as lack of pre-war documentation, it is unfair to penalize those individuals and not to recognize their work experience together with their status as contributory pensioners. The state should be flexible and should decide on a specific amount of pension for each year of work experience. In this way each individual that has worked can receive the pension he/she really deserves.

Merita Berisha
Prishtina, May 2015