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Published: Friday, 5/11/2012

Poland's lawmakers approve controversial plan to raise retirement age to 67


WARSAW, Poland— Poland's lawmakers approved a controversial government plan to raise the retirement age to 67 for most Poles.

Following a heated debate, the lower chamber of Parliament voted Friday by a margin of 268 to 185 with 2 abstentions to approve changes sought by the pro-business government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, which argues that delayed retirement will help Poles build up larger pensions and reduce state spending.

Trade unions have vehemently opposed the plan and have been staging days of noisy protest outside Parliament. They argue the government has not presented any convincing calculations to show that pensions would indeed rise in a significant way. Instead, they say, efforts should be taken to mend a job market with a 13 percent jobless rate and poor job security for people over the age of 50.

The current law allows women to retire at age 60 and men at 65. A partial retirement would be available to women at 62 and men at 65, but it would decrease the benefits they will receive after 67.

The armed forces and some other services enjoyed even more lenient regulations, which the new law toughened up.

The new law is expected to win the necessary approval from the Senate and from President Bronislaw Komorowski.

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