Almost half a million Czechs in early retirement

Photo: Filip Jandourek

New numbers released by the Czech Social Security Administration have revealed that at the end of last year the Czech Republic had roughly 477,000 pensioners who had taken early retirement. That includes a marked pension cut of 1,160 crowns less per month. The number of early retirees has also tripled since the year 2000.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
Jan Velinger spoke to Nikola Šimandlová of the NGO Alternativa 50+ about why so many were taking early retirement.

“A study we did suggested that 40 percent of those who took early retirement did so because they lost their jobs. Forty percent had little choice as they just couldn’t find new work. Many people lost jobs due to company restructuring and many were over the age of 50.”

Apparently there are not enough companies with incentives to hire older members of the work force…

“Well the situation on the labour market overall is not good: there are currently about 630,000 people in the country who are unemployed and only 40,000 vacancies, so those numbers speak for themselves. If you are over 50 you are discriminated against: no one admits it, but you are just not interesting for employers. The economic crisis from 2008 also had an impact. Although no one admits to the truth, older workers let go were often at the top of the list.”

Those who were forced to retire early: are they feeling the difference?

Nikola Šimandlová,  photo: Czech Television
“Of course. If you retire three years sooner than the required age of say 65, you take a cut and you get less money not only for three years but for the rest of your life and that strikes me as a bit unfair.”

What percentage of the population sets early retirement as a goal, putting money aside, for example, in pension plans?

“By our estimate it is around four or five percent. People earning enough to put money aside, people who want to spend more time with their grandchildren one day or have more time for their own interests. But that is really a minority.”