Posted May. 05, 2015 07:17,
The main and opposition parties have promised to finalize the plan to strengthen public pensions at the regular National Assembly session in September, but its possibility looks uncertain.
Around 20 million people are subscribed to the national pension, nearly 13 times those subscribed to the public employees` pension (1.6 million people). The reform of public employee pension can be carried out by negotiating with public employee`s labor union and some related groups, but talks are difficult to proceed with the national pension reform due to unclear parties for negotiations since it is divided into company workers, self-employed, etc.
In addition, the public will fiercely protest if monthly insurance fees are raised for the purpose of raising the income replacement rate.
Time constraints are another problem. It took more than four months for the public employee pension reform to be agreed upon after a consultative body was set up in December last year. The plan made by main and opposition parties is actually impossible to be finalized since there are only three months left to form a social group to strengthen public pension in June and handle it at the regular parliament session. Even Kang Ki-jung, policy committee head at the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, said, "We wanted enough time of seven to eight months until the end of the year." However, his fellow lawmaker Kim Yong-ik argued, "The given time is sufficient since the main and opposition parties already agreed on injecting 20 percent of public employee pension budget reductions and raising the income replacement rate to 50 percent."
Initially, the leading Saenuri Party proposed operating the social group till the end of the year, but expected handling it in September would not be easy. A party official said, "There are far more interested parties (compared with the public employee pension), and reform of a complex national pension system in just three months is impossible."