The Retirement Age Discussions in the Turkish Labour Life

September 23, 2022by Bünyamin Esen0

The issue of “those who are waiting for retirement age” has recently been one of the most vivid topics in the Turkish labour life.

Three major reforms were made in the Turkish social security regime in 1999, 2002 and 2008, consecutively. With each of these reforms, retirement conditions for social insured were made more and more difficult, while the conditions for completing the number of service days, completing the insurance period and fulfilling the age requirement were introduced in order for people to retire.

“Those who are waiting for retirement age” are the people whose retirement conditions have changed drastically after a legal change came into force on the date of September 8, 1999, while they are already working as a social insurance holder. While there was no age requirement for retirement in the social security system before September 8, 1999, it was made obligatory for all insured persons, whether newly employed or already working, to be subject to a certain age requirement in order to get retire and start to have a pension from the public.

In fact, the problem of “Those who are waiting for retirement age” was created by Unemployment Insurance Act No. 4447, which was accepted by the coalition government of DSP, ANAP and MHP, which was in power at that time, and stipulating the age condition to retire. Until the date of September 8, 1999, workers had to meet two conditions for retirement: 20-years social insurance period for women and 25-years social insurance period for men, and 5000 days of social insurance premium payment.

With the amendment, the retirement age was increased to 58 for women, 60 for men, and 7000 days for premium days.

The 1999 Social Security Reform law was brought to the Constitutional Court by the opposition parties of the time, Welfare Party and True Path Party, and a gradual retirement age was introduced after the annulment decision of the Constitutional Court. In this new regulation, those who have been insured for 20 years are not affected by the change, but the situation of those who were insured two years ago has radically changed.

A gradual transition period between the ages of 40 and 58 for women and between the ages of 44 and 60 for men was introduced for those who were employed before the date of September 8, 1999. In this gradual system, even if you fulfil the insurance premium payment day requirement, you have to wait for the retirement age determined according to your first employment date. People in this situation are called “those who are waiting for retirement age.” The number of people in this condition are estimated as 1 million to 4 million.

The social security reform of 1999 extended the retirement of employees up to 15 to 18 years at that time. Considering the standards of business life such as life expectancy at birth, job security and working conditions of the elderly, unionization and collective bargaining, the reform was criticized as not suitable for the Turkish social structure and to the Turkish Labour Market.

According to the statement made by the President Erdoğan and Ministry of Labour and Social Security, studies are continuing at the ministry for solving the problems of people who are waiting for retirement age and for a law to retire them on an early date. Within the scope of the study, which is expected to come to the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in December 2022, it is discussed that people who started to work for the first time before 8 September 1999, subject to social insurance, will be able to retire early and receive pensions under simplified conditions.

Bünyamin Esen

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