Freelancers fight forced pension plan

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16 May, 2012 Updated Wed 16 May 2012 15:13 CEST
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Self-employed workers in Germany are mounting an offensive against a proposed law that would force them to pay at least €350 per month into the public pension system.

Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen proposed the plan earlier this year, saying it was designed to prevent "old age poverty," according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

The minister fears that some freelancers will end up not being able to provide for themselves and the state will have to pick up the tab for them. The plan would require younger independent workers to pay into the state pension system to prevent such a scenario.

But critics say many of the 4.3 million people who are independently employed in Germany would not be able to afford the €350 monthly payments and claim idea is a way for the government to shore up its broken pension system.

Tim Wessels, a 27-year-old old owner of an IT company, has launched a petition to fight the law, which he says would kill innovation, according to DeskMag, an online site dedicated to the self-employed.

The computer specialist said the law would cost him at least €650 a month for the pension fee and health insurance, which is required under German law, before he earned a cent.

The MEA old age research institute, which is part of the Max-Planck-Institute, also sees no need for a required pension payment for the self-employed, according to the newspaper.

The average self-employed person has a higher income than an employee and independent workers tend to invest their profits in real estate or other areas which do not fall into a traditional pension system, but nevertheless provide income in old age, the FAZ said.

It added that many self-employed people work way past the legal retirement age and continue to produce income into their 70s, the paper wrote.

If Wessels collects 50,000 by May 22, he says he will be able to present his case directly to lawmakers in parliament.

Any European Union resident who lives in Germany may sign. More than 44,000 had done so by Wednesday morning.

The Local/mw



2012/05/16 15:13

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