Parliament gets rid of full salary benefits for retired employees

Bureau to renegotiate conditions with workers after public outrage at wages of up to €150,000 a year

Catalan parliament bureau meeting on January 25, 2022 (by Rafa Garrido)
Catalan parliament bureau meeting on January 25, 2022 (by Rafa Garrido) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 25, 2022 01:01 PM

The Catalan parliament will get rid of the full salary benefit on public servants after stopping working at 60 and for five years until their legal age of retirement.

The move was triggered one week after an Ara newspaper report that revealed that around €1.7m were spent every year since 2008. Several former secretaries earned more than €10,000 per month, while those with lower salaries, such as attendants, received €3,800 per month — the equivalent of €56,000 to €150,000 gross per year.

Last week, the parliament bureau decided to reform the system involving such 'age licenses' through negotiation with workers, but on Tuesday, the body regulating the chamber went for a straight removal of the privileges and will only seek a new deal once the stripping of the norm is consolidated.

After the Ara report was made public, parliament speaker Laura Borràs told public broadcaster TV3 that the situation had been "solved" following a modification to the "age license" system in December that meant that those who applied for it would either carry on working fewer hours or stop working altogether and earn less money three years before finally fully retiring rather than five.

Following the negative reaction to Ara's revelations, however, the parliament bureau has been forced to backtrack. 

Some parties have criticized the way the Parliament handled age license benefits, such as CUP MP Xavier Pellicer, who said it has been "insulting and disrespectful." He also called on the chamber to cut down on certain expenses related to travel or food granted to MPs although they not always attend the chamber in person due to the pandemic.