From this point of view and my 30 years, retirement seems to me like something I will never get. Not because my generation is still classified as young, so when pensions are mentioned, everyone mostly says that we have time, but because the work system has changed a lot.
With these words, 30-year-old Jelena D. from Belgrade, who has been working under a contract on temporary-occasional jobs for years, explains the attitude of young people towards retirement.
– Today, when they are employed in a permanent employment relationship, younger people will be hired only after a few years, at best. It is mostly done without an application, and if the contract is signed, it is for three months, and after the expiration, it often happens that it is not extended. And then he falls into a vicious circle, and searches for a job again. That is why few young people today think about retirement at all and whether they will ever acquire the right to it. Everyone is still looking for a permanent job and a secure job.
Professor Dr. Nada Novaković, a senior research associate at the Institute of Social Sciences, believes that most young people do not know how our pension system works. It has changed in the last 20 years, all in the direction of reducing pensions and tightening the conditions for acquiring it. This, she claims, is a general trend in the world, and the goal is to reduce public expenditures for pensions, and for the individual to take responsibility for himself and his family. As a result, they have become more of a social than an economic category, and the right to a pension and a secure old age has been seriously called into question.
– Intergenerational solidarity means that active employees allocate money to the pension fund, from which pensions are paid. As the number of employees decreases, so do the funds for pensions. This was followed by a systemic “error”. It consists in the fact that since the abolition of the Social Accounting Service (SDK), the obligation to pay funds for pension and disability insurance has been abolished. This was joined by the possibility of non-payment of money for several months and many years. It is often the case that the state, as the largest employer in Serbia, inflicts damage on workers in the same way, whether in public or in companies in which the state is a partial owner of capital – says prof. Novakovic.
For Darko G., who has had a permanent job for five years and does not think about retirement at all, it is important that he has money for his current needs, and retirement is his distant future.
– I really do not expect to receive a pension, and even if I do, I do not believe that this income will be enough to provide a decent life in old age – says Darko. – I think more about private savings and other sources of income, than about pensions. Because most people from my environment are currently doing various additional jobs, better known among young people as stalls, mostly after eight hours of work, in order to provide themselves with a decent life.
According to him, it is devastating when we realize that the current income, to which his peers are registered and on the basis of which the pension will be calculated later, is not enough now for life, let alone later for a dignified old age and pension.
Professor Novaković emphasizes that the term young people is “expanding” more and more often by referring to people up to the age of 30, and some justify that with the fact that they are economically and housing-dependent on their parents.
– Young people in Serbia are less employed than their peers in the EU, and the unemployment rate is twice as high as there. Between the ages of 15 and 24, every second person has a temporary contract, and every third person has a precarious job. They are forced to accept any job, even without an employment contract. Uncertain and uncertain wages have become the general rule for most private sector employees. In addition, there is disqualification, ie work on jobs of lower expertise, in worse conditions, and with more and more unpaid working hours. With the Labor Law, but also with the regulations on companies, bankruptcy and privatization, the young labor force is marginalized on the labor market – our interlocutor points out.
According to Dr. Novakovic, the policy of attracting foreign investments has gained momentum. In its own way, it gave freedom to a foreign investor not to respect even the elementary laws from labor relations. The state protected the interests of the foreign employer, but to the detriment of domestic workers, and even young people who were employed there.
– The attitude of young people towards the allocation for pension funds is realistic. They accurately estimate that these funds have collapsed, that the pensions of current pensioners are getting smaller and insufficient for a decent life. As they get employed later and later, it is clear to them that retirement is an increasingly distant, if not unattainable goal for them. Many of them are aware that they have to work even when the employer does not pay the funds for pension insurance – she says.
Young people rightly conclude that current pensions are low, and that funds for future retirees will be even scarcer. Their working and professional careers are discontinuous and uncertain, and therefore the conditions for acquiring a pension are uncertain. Most of them do not believe that if they acquire them, they will provide them with material and other security in old age.
PEOPLE DO NOT PAY INTO PRIVATE FUNDS
The reform of the pension system according to the model of the World Bank, imposed especially on the countries in transition, has experienced its fiasco, believes Dr. Nada Novaković.
– It is based on the existence of three pillars or three funds: mandatory, voluntary and private. According to the latest data, there are seven private funds in Serbia, to which about 200,000 citizens pay. This in itself means that a relatively small number of them decided to secure a pension in that way. This is no accident. First of all, the main reason for that is not their lack of information, but the fact that they do not have the money to set aside for that. The third cause is the fact that in the world, private pension funds have gone bankrupt, that is. perished.
THEY ADAPT TO THE NEW CONDITIONS
YOUNG PEOPLE in Serbia, according to Dr. Novakovic, had to accept flexible forms of work, such as working from home, by contract, part-time work, teleworking, part-time work, and one of the consequences of such legal solutions is that thus employed workers do not have the same rights as full-time employees. They are not entitled to annual leave, sick leave, severance pay, union organizing and strikes.
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