STA, 29 March 2020 - Pensioners in Slovenia will only be allowed into stores between 8am and 10am as of Monday as new shopping restrictions have been put in place to protect the most vulnerable groups against coronavirus.
Under a previous decree that took effect on 19 March, shops had to give priority during the 8-10am slot to older persons, the disabled and pregnant women.
Now, this time slow will be reserved exclusively for these vulnerable groups while pensioners will not be allowed into shops after 10am at all.
The government said the best way to additionally protect vulnerable groups was to separate them physically from other consumers.
Other restrictions that shops are subject to remain in place. Most shops except those selling food, pharmacies and petrol stations remain closed until further notice. Those that are open operate from 8am to 6pm Monday through Saturday, a restriction that does not apply to petrol stations and pharmacies.
How old is a pensioner? There’s no official guidance on the age here, but I’d assume “the elderly”, and interpret that as you will (JL Flanner)
STA, 29 February 2020 - The likely new government plans to tackle housing issues among the young and problems stemming from population ageing, according to the social affairs chapter of the coalition agreement. It does not intend to change pension rights though.
The incoming centre-right government vows to set up a housing scheme for young families and build rental flats, the top pledge of the 19-point Youth, Family, Pensions and Social Affairs chapter of the agreement.
It plans to re-introduce a scheme under which families with two or more children enrolled in public kindergarten simultaneously would only pay for the first child, a policy that had been put in place by the first Janez Janša government in 2008 and was later abandoned due to austerity measures.
Family-friendly policies, designed to boost the country's birth rate, include plans to introduce a universal child allowance and incentives promoting "greater enrolment of all children in kindergartens at least a year before starting school".
The document does not mention implementing a Constitutional Court decision mandating equal funding of private and public primary schools, however Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS), the party expected to lead the coalition, has said that it goes without saying the parties would also implement any Constitutional Court ruling regardless of whether it is specifically mentioned in the agreement.
Tackling population ageing, the emerging four-party coalition intends to establish a public pension support fund as well as a government demographic office, both headquartered in Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city - initiatives that may be considered as steps towards decentralisation.
The coalition also plans to reform social transfers to prevent abuse of the system and integrate recipients of social benefits who are able to work into the community work placement scheme.
The minimum amount of a full pension is to be gradually brought nearer the poverty threshold, "depending on economic growth and budget capacities". To preserve the existing pension ratios, other pensions would be raised as well.
Addressing the shortage of nursing homes, the coalition pledges to complete the construction of a couple of such facilities as well as build at least five new nursing homes.
It also intends to carry out additional pension increases on top of regular annual pension indexation, assuming GDP growth reaches certain thresholds.
The coalition also promises to provide the chance of spa or climatic treatment for war victims and veterans.
This is the second in a series on the new government’s plans, to be posted in the next few days, with the whole set here
STA, 19 December 2019 - The budget of the ZPIZ pension fund will stand at EUR 5.8 billion in 2020, but the state will have to chip in almost EUR 680 million to balance revenue and expenditure.
Under ZPIZ's financial plan for next year, adopted by the fund's council on Thursday, 84.2% of all revenue or EUR 4.9 billion will go for pensions.
Another EUR 145 million is planned to be spent on the annual holiday allowance for all pensions, up EUR 4.6 million from this year.
Almost 82% of the ZPIZ's revenue will come from contributions for social security and other taxes, with EUR 50 million expected from the state-owned KAD fund.
Pensions are planned to rise twice - by 3.5% in February, and by EUR 6.5 at the end of 2020 as part of an extraordinary rise if economic growth exceeds 2.5%.
Deputy ZPIZ director general David Klarič said as he outlined the plan the EUR 6.5 rise could still change as the upper chamber of parliament had filed a bill to rise pensions not in an absolute sum but as of percentage. In this case, the rise would amount to 1%.
The financial plan will now be sent to the government for approval. The government's representative on the council, Simona Poljanšek, said it was well prepared.
Klarič, however, said the budget would probably have to be overhauled in mid-2020 to adjust it to the latest pension changes which are expected to cost EUR 33 million.
The only council member voting against the financial plan was Frančiška Ćetković, who represents pensioners.
The plan does not envisage pensioners getting back what was taken from them due to the 2012 austerity legislation, which she assessed at 7.2%.
"We won't accept this share not being paid out," she said.
In response, Katja Rihar Bajuk from the Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Ministry announced the ministry would analyse retirement conditions as those retiring during the crisis were more affected than others.
Council president Dušan Bavec, who represents employers, said more pension revenue could be collected with more effective measures against grey economy.
STA, 5 November 2019 - Slovenia has joined the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, thus becoming one of the EU reference sites that promote ageing solutions through bringing together civil societies, governmental organisations, industry and science.
The partnership includes 77 reference sites or ecosystems that aim to improve the health and life of the elderly as well as the entire communities, coming up with and promoting innovative strategies.
"Slovenia's contribution to this partnership will be an improved collaboration of various activities," said Alenka Rožaj Brvar, the head of the Slovenian Innovation Hub, at a press conference on Tuesday.
She pointed at increasing population ageing and related challenges, such as chronic diseases, adding that a more systematic plan for tackling these issues should be implemented.
Marjan Sedmak, the head of the Ljubljana Pensioners' Union and the former head of AGE Platform Europe, a European network of organisations focusing on the needs of the elderly, pointed out that another issue posed by ageing was loneliness, which is being partly tackled by senior activity centres, but there was still room for improvement.
Rožaj Brvar also highlighted the business opportunities of the silver or longevity economy targeting older consumers, including in real estate, health care and prevention, tourism, health food, home care equipment products and assistive devices.
One of Slovenia's possible strategies for tapping this potential is a project called the Academic Village which strives for setting up a community of retired professors and researchers near a new university campus at Brdo pri Kranju in northern Slovenia.
According to the former chancellor of the Ljubljana University and an advocate of the Slovenian Innovation Hub Stane Pejovnik, the community would promote maintaining ties between the young and the elderly as well as the knowledge exchange between them.
Pejovnik also listed the hub's other project ideas, including building two new faculties, a proton therapy centre for tumour treatment and the so-called medicine valley which would come with a price tag of a few hundred million euros, adding that securing funds for such projects is one of the main challenges of Slovenia's innovative initiatives in this field.
Meanwhile, the director of the Provita company Gorazd Hladnik presented an example of good practices in health management - the Health Master app, a Slovenian platform which promotes keeping a personal health record and introduces new ways of patient-doctor exchanges using information and communication technologies.
What follows is a short documentary, made in 2014, which shows some scenes from a day in the life of 93-year-old Pepca and her niece Malka, who live in Kanji dol, Javornik (which, despite what the film says, isn’t that close to the Italian border).
It’s a simple life, in old age and poverty, and a glimpse at a world that, as the title says, is disappearing fast.
STA, 29 October 2019 - The National Assembly unanimously endorsed on Tuesday legislative changes making public transportation free of charge for pensioners and persons with disabilities, among others, as of 1 July 2020.
In addition to pensioners and persons possessing the EU disability card, the motion also applies to all registered athletes attending secondary schools and universities and university students with motor disabilities.
Presenting the changes to the road transport act last week, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek noted that the state had been subsidising tickets for secondary school and university students to provide them with cheaper and safer transport.
"We have now decided to also provide pensioners with such a benefit," she said, adding that the state had already been subsidising inter-city public transport regardless of whether buses and trains were half-empty or totally empty.
"Filling up these seats with pensioners, who will not be buying tickets, would not mean higher costs," the minister explained.
Franc Jurša of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said that it was "one of the better days in the National Assembly", while Igor Zorčič of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) was reserved about all pensioners enjoying the benefit.
Zorčič said at the time that some pensioners had "very good pensions", adding that the eligibility to free public transportation should be expanded to independence war veterans.
It was thus proposed today by the SMC and three other parties in an amendment that unemployed independence war veterans are also eligible for the benefit. The amendment was confirmed.
During last week's debate, Maša Kociper of the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) welcomed the fact that the state will enable young athletes to travel to and from practices free of charge.
Anja Bah Žibert of the opposition Democrats (SDS) meanwhile stressed that pensioners had been complaining about the shortage of public transportation lines, in particular in the countryside and in the afternoon hours.
Bratušek said that there were currently around 1,800 public transportation lines, with the ministry being in the process of obtaining data on their occupancy.
New lines could be opened if there is interest. "Our interest is to make [public transportation] as accessible and occupied as possible, so that there is less traffic on the roads," the minister added.
STA, 3 October 2019 - The government adopted on Thursday a set of changes to the pension insurance act equalising the base for pensions for men and women to 63.5% of the salary and regulating the status of pensioners who continue to work.
Under the changes, the pension will no longer depend on whether the pensioner is a man or a woman but only on the pensionable years.
This means that men who have worked for a full 40 years will have their pension set at 63.5% of their wages as of 2025, up from the current 57.25%.
In this way male pensioners will be equal with female retirees, for whom the 63.5% is already in place.
Another change is that a pensioner will get by 1.36% higher pension for every child they have, yet this benefit could not be claimed for more than three children.
"We anticipate higher pensions and thus a higher degree of social security for future pensioners," Labour Ministry State Secretary Tilen Božič said after the government session.
He indicated that the long transition period until 2025 was a means of encouraging workers, especially those aged 59 to 64, to work longer.
Božič explained Slovenia fared worse than other countries in this age group, as many retire rather early, which he said was a major issue of Slovenia's pension system.
"We're focussing on prolonging working, so those who decide to work longer will be better rewarded," the state secretary said.
As for the pensioners who continue to work, they will initially get, alongside the salary, 40% of the pension they are entitled to.
After the first three years of being a working pensioner, their pension will drop to only 20%, as is the case now.
Božič said the government also expected a positive effect from this additional benefit for pensioners who opted for the dual, worker-pensioner status.
Before today's government session, the changes were endorsed by coalition parties, which however indicated some changes could still be made in parliament.
The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said the transition period to equalize men and women pensioners in 2025 was too long and should be shortened.
"We've agreed the ministry will make another round of calculations to see the actual financial impacts," deputy group leader Franc Jurša said after the coalition meeting.
He could not say for sure whether DeSUS would file any amendments, noting they would see if some corrections were needed once the legislation was in parliament.
The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities outlined the changes in March, whereupon they were subject to intense talks with employers and trade unions.
The Economic and Social Council, the country's industrial relations forum, gave them its seal of approval last week, at the same time calling for more extensive changes.
All our stories on pensions in Slovenia are here
STA, 30 September 2019 - As a world day dedicated to the elderly is to be marked around the world, Slovenian organisations are pointing to the problems brought by the population ageing, including the need for better regulation of long-term care, calling for higher pensions to take pensioners above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.
Marked on 1 October, this year's International Day of Older Persons runs under the motto The Journey to Age Equality, aiming to ensure equal opportunities and reduce inequalities of outcome regardless of personal circumstances.
The first issue to be pointed out by the Association of Pensioners (ZDUS) ahead of the event is that by 2025, the minimum pension for 40 years of pensionable service, which currently stands at EUR 531, should be above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which last year stood at EUR 662.
The association has also called for a law on long-term care to adopted as soon as possible, which is something that the Union of Social Institutes has also been pointing to, saying that the government has "forgotten about the elderly" in the budget for the next two years.
"It has been postponing to a distant future the eagerly-awaited systemic regulation of long-term care," the union said, adding that retirement homes were facing critical shortage of beds while the availability of home care was being reduced.
According to Jaka Bizjak of the union, there are no plans to establish a new public retirement home, while the availability of home care services is becoming the key developmental problem of Slovenian society, which is ageing at a fast pace.
He pointed to studies which say that only one out of four persons older than 75 will not be needing such services, and that the costs of related services and assistance for one out of ten such persons will be "sky high".
Policy-makers in the field of long-term care announce solutions leaning towards boosting care within the family and local community, but such forms of assistance are effective only in societies with a low full-time employment rate for women.
"One cannot avoid the impression that the state bets on care within the family only because it is cheaper for the budget, and is less interested in whether this is an appropriate solution given the actual needs and capacities."
The Ministry of Health, which is drafting the relevant law, expects that it will be ready for public debate by the end of the year, while final confirmation in parliament is expected by the end of the first half of 2020.
The UN as the sponsor of the international day has pointed to the steep growth in the number of older persons, with the highest rates expected in developing countries. The number of persons older than 60 is expected to stand at 1.4 billion by 2030.
This is why the organisation believes that more attention should be paid to the needs and problems faced by older persons. It believes that their potential contribution to society is important and that respect of their human rights should be at the core of these efforts.
Slovenia is no exception in the ageing trend, with the Statistics Office (SURS) noting ahead of International Day of Older Persons that life expectancy at birth is increasing, with almost one in five Slovenians being older than 65.
There were 413,054 persons aged 65 or older in Slovenia at the beginning of this year, which means this age group representing almost 20% of total population. Women represent a majority in this age group, and 161 out of the 189 centenarians are women.
SURS also notes that the number of older people is increasingly higher than the number of children. Currently, there are more than 131 older persons per 100 children, and the ratio is projected to stand at two to one by 2033.
The highest at-risk-of-poverty rate in Slovenia is recorded in persons aged 65 or older, 18.3%, while out of some 98,000 older persons who live below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, 60,000 are retired women.
The employment rate in the group aged between 55 and 64 in Slovenia is among the lowest in the EU due to early retirement, but it is increasing in recent years. Almost 5,000 persons aged 65 or older were active in 2018, 73.3% of whom men.
The opening of this year's Festival for the Third Age, an annual event dedicated to raising issues related to ageing, coincides with International Day of Older Persons.
Running from Tuesday to Thursday, it will again look to connect young and old people, bringing a number of round table debates on topical issues, and being accompanied by a diverse educational and cultural programmes.
All our stories on demographics in Slovenia can be found here
STA, 16 July 2019 - Orpea, a French multinational that specialises in assisted living services, has entered the Slovenian market via its Austrian subsidiary Senecura by purchasing a retirement home in Radenci, eastern Slovenia, called Dosor.
Senecura purchased the facility earlier this year from Radenci municipality and the Austrian bad bank Heta and plans to use it as a springboard for Slovenia, having previously acquired the licence to build several small retirement homes around the country with a total of 310 beds.
The company, the biggest private operator of retirement homes in Austria, acquired Dosor because of the quality of care it provides, favourable location and its reputation in Slovenia, Senecura board member Anton Kellner told the press on Tuesday.
Radenci municipality sold its 50% stake for EUR 1.5 million, while the rest was acquired with the purchase of Heta's EUR 7.6 million in claims to Dosor.
Dosor has 178 beds and 100 employees. It was built as a public-private project in 2008.
Together with the planned network of small retirement homes, the acquisition puts Senecura on track to compete with the biggest Slovenian private provider of elderly care, Deos, which has eight facilities in Slovenia.
There are currently over 100 elderly care facilities in Slovenia offering just over 20,000 places, most of which are publicly owned and operated by municipalities.
All our stories on the elderly in Slovenia are here
STA, 13 March 2019 - The Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has proposed changes to the pension system under which retirement age for persons without 40 years of pensionable service would gradually increase from the current 65 years to 67 by 2034.
Under the current legislation, employees who do not have 40 years of pensionable service may retire at 65, but receive lower pensions.
The new proposal raises the retirement age for these persons to 67 years by two months a year until 2034, Minister Ksenija Klampfer said as she presented the proposal to the press on Wednesday.
The condition that a person must have 40 years of pensionable service for old-age retirement under 67 years remains in force.
The pension rate for persons with 40 years of pensionable service is proposed to be increased in six years to 63% of the long-term average wage for both men and women. The current rate is 57.25% for men and 60.25% for women.
An additional 1.25 percentage points will be added to the rate to persons who were on parental leave in the first year of the child's life, said Klampfer.
The higher pension rate will allow for higher old-age, widow, disability and family pensions and compensations from disability insurance, the minister explained.
Retired persons will also be able to continue to work after meeting the conditions for old-age pensions and receive 50% of their pensions for three years and then full pension after that, with some safeguards being in place.
There will be certain conditions for this right to be exercised, including that contributions for social security have been paid in full, Klampfer said. At present, pensioners who continue working only get 20% of their pensions.
The proposal follows the solutions agreed on in the coalition agreement, said the minister, noting that in 2025, pensions of persons with 40 years of pensionable service would be by 8% higher on average.
All our stores on employment in Slovenia are here