First lawsuit: a 60-year-old worker demands pension that he lost by pension reform

by praca
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Anatoly Poplavny, a locksmith-tool maker at the OJSC “Gomelkabel”, a member of the REP Trade Union, who reached the age of 60, has demanded from the district administration to appoint his age pension, which, according to the new legislation, he should receive only in 1.5 years.

Anatoly explained his claims to the “Gomel Spring” website:

“My rights to a labour pension upon reaching the age of 60 and after working for at least 25 years evolved with the enforcement of the Law on Pensions in 1992. However, in 2017, Belarus adopted a new legislation, according to which I will retire only at the age of 61.5, which worsened my legal status as a citizen in comparison with the previous legislation. I’m not going to lose my 18-month pension, and I intend to seek it, even if I have to go up to the Supreme Court.”

Anatoly wrote about it to the Social Protection Division of the Sovietsky District of Gomel. He is supported in his initiative by Leonid Sudalenko, the REP’s legal inspector for the Gomel Region, who has formulated his legal stance as follows:

“The Constitution, followed by the law on normative legal acts, explicitly prohibits using the retroactive effect in the legislation that worsens the citizens’ legal status. Our argument is that this constitutional principle should be applied not only when imposing legal liabilities, but also when adopting the legislation that worsens citizens’ situation.”

The trade union lawyer has added that after the increase of the retirement age in 2017, no one has yet appealed to the court on this issue:

“The case ‘Poplavny versus Government of Belarus’ will be a precedent, on which, as we hope, everyone – from social protection officials and district judges up to the Chairs of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts – will have to comment on the retroactivity to the law that worsens citizens’ legal status.”

Under the 2017 law, Belarus intends to gradually reach the retirement age of 63 years for men, 58 years for women by 2022; however, Belarusian authorities do not rule out further increase in the retirement age after 2022.

Maria Akulova, a researcher at the Belarusian Economic Research and Education Centre (BEREC), said in her comment to BelaPAN: “It would be hardly possible to preserve women’s right to retire five years earlier than men. Given the population aging, it will require either an increase in deductions to the Social Protection Fund, which are already high, or a decrease in pensions, which are very small. Therefore, we’ll most likely see the increase of women’s retirement up to the men’s one.”