Bulgaria's Parliament has adopted conclusively the much debated amendments to the Social Insurance Code, which will enter into force on January 1 2011.
Starting next year, the new retirement requirements for men will include simultaneously minimum 37 years of service and age above 63. Women should be 60 years of age and should have 34 years of service.
The amendment was accepted with the votes of the ruling centrist GERB party, far-rightist Ataka and 2 votes from the rightist Blue Coalition.
Up to now, thew so called "point system" has been implemented in Bulgaria's retirement system, according to which every person who reaches a certain overall "score" meets the pension criteria. This score is the sum of age and the total years of service.
For example, men are allowed to retire upon reaching 63 or a total of 100 points (i.e. a 64 year-old man with 36 years of service is able to retire in the current situation). The current requirements for women are 60 years of age or 94 points.
To put it in other words, a 64 year old man with 36 years of service or a 61 year-old woman with 33 years of service has to either retire by the end of 2010 or work for one more year.
From 2012, the years of service for retirement will additionally start increasing by 4 months a year.