Labour minister unveils list of demanding professions which will merit early retirement

Blacksmiths, foresters, welders and glassmakers are among the demanding professions where people will be able to retire up to five years earlier that the rest, according to a pension reform bill drafted by the labour ministry. Overall, the proposed reforms will be a major overhaul of the present system.

A reform of the pension system is a task that several governments have attempted and given up on in the past three decades. The Fiala administration, which has a comfortable majority in both chambers, appears determined to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Marian Jurečka | Photo: René Volfík,

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka on Friday presented the final parameters of a proposed pension reform that should ensure sustainable pensions for future generations. The proposal envisages a gradual increase in the retirement age linked to a higher life expectancy, a different basis for calculating old-age pensions, a lower indexation of pensions and a minimum pension amounting to 20 percent of the average wage. The labour minister stressed that in view of the demographic trend an overhaul of the pension system is inevitable.

“In the year 2,000 there were 5 employees per one pensioner, in 2020 it was 3 and a half employees per one pensioner and in 2050 it will be only two employees per one pensioner. The number of employees contributing to the pension system is dwindling. In 2050 the deficit in the pension system would reach 5 percent of the GDP and the state would have to take the money elsewhere, like from the education, health or social sectors.”

In view of this the ministry is proposing a gradual increase in the retirement age, benefits for people who have raised children and tax cuts for pensioners who continue working after retirement. An amendment to the law, which went into effect late last year, has already tightened the conditions for early retirement in order to curb a trend that has become increasingly popular.

According to the comprehensive pension reform in the pipeline, only people working in demanding professions will be able to retire ahead of the set date without losing money.

“We selected a list of demanding professions in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The risk factors taken into account include noise, dust, cold, heat, chemicals and biological agents, air pressure, radiation, vibration and physical, mental or visual stress. Experts considered whether the negative impact to health can be reduced with protective equipment and if not these employees should be able to retire early. This concerns about 120,000 people. Depending on the number of shifts worked, they could retire up to five years before their retirement age.”

Employers would have to pay 5% higher social security contributions for workers in demanding professions. If an employee worked 2,200 shifts in a hazardous environment (about 10 years), they could retire a year and a quarter earlier without a pension cut. Those who had worked 4,400 shifts (about 20 years) could retire two and a half years earlier. Every additional 74 shifts would mean earlier retirement by another month.

Illustrative photo: Michal Sladký,  Czech Radio

Minister Jurečka said that the list of demanding jobs presented is not necessarily final. In the future, the list of occupations meriting early retirement may be expanded to include others if the state recognizes that the occupation is risky and endangers the worker's health.

The finalized version of the draft law will now be presented to the cabinet for approval before being sent to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The plan is for it to come into force in 2026.