Struggling Italians failing to pay into pension

Only 25% of workers have retirement plan

Struggling Italians failing to pay into pension

Rome, June 10 - Struggling Italian workers, unable to cope with the ongoing recession, have not been making payments into their retirement funds, the national supervisory agency for pensions said Monday. "We are concerned with the high rate of suspension of payments to pension funds," Covip - the commission for the supervision of pension funds - said in its annual report. It noted that in 2012, 5.8 million Italians belonged to pension funds, an increase in enrolments of 5.3% over the previous year. However, 1.2 million of those members have not been making their payments into their pensions - an increase of 100,000 individuals, compared with 2011 figures, said the commission. Increasingly, workers cannot afford to pay into their retirement plans, and many are even forced to withdraw money for needs that range from medical emergencies to home repairs, it added. Only about 25.5% of employed Italians actually have a pension plan, the commission noted. The report shows the urgency of continued funding of the national social security safety net, because in this economy individuals cannot afford to save for retirement, said the secretary general of the SPI-CGIL labor union. "Too often we hear from so many distinguished economists that supplementary pensions are the future and that the public (plans) are just a cost to be cut, said Carla Contone, a pension expert. "The data provided today by Covip show that it cannot be so because in the context of this deep crisis, workers cannot really afford to give up other money" to fund retirement savings.

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