Lebanon approves historic social security reforms
The Lebanese parliament has passed a law to establish a comprehensive pension system for private sector workers, a step that was "delayed for three decades" and considered a "milestone" for the country
Beirut, Dec 16: The Lebanese parliament has passed a law to establish a comprehensive pension system for private sector workers, a step that was "delayed for three decades" and considered a "milestone" for the country.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) said in a statement that it offered technical support to relevant Lebanese parliamentary committees and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to reach a consensus on the law, ensuring its alignment with world trade body's standards for social security, reports Xinhua news agency.
ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat said that "at a time of unprecedented social and economic crises ... stronger public social protection mechanisms and better functioning national institutions are critical to ensure the needed advancement of social justice and economic recovery".
"The new system will improve the well-being of Lebanese who reach retirement age and strengthen social solidarity, which is very important for Lebanon these days," said Luca Pellerano, senior social protection specialist at the ILO regional office in Beirut.
Mohammed Karaki, director general of the NSSF, praised the program as "one of the most important socio-economic reforms Lebanon has achieved in the past 30 years".
Older people in Lebanon have been struck by the financial crisis, which led to an increase in rates of poverty and unemployment across the country.
Also, the value of the end-of-service indemnity received by the Lebanese plummeted with the collapse of the Lebanese pound.
According to the ILO, "the new pension benefits will be calculated taking into account two guaranteed minimum amounts: the first is 80 per cent of the minimum wage after 30 years of contribution, and the second is 1.33 per cent for each year of the insured's revalorised average wage".
It added that "benefits will be paid in case of disability and will be transferred to survivors in case of the death of the insured member or the pensioner".
"Pension values will also be indexed to inflation through a yearly adjustment process."