ATHENS – While the Greek social security system, EFKA, cleared 96 percent of the 1 million pension backlog, the New Democracy government plans to hire 224 managers to help, including from the private sector.
That includes 24 senior executives in top positions who pay up to 8,000 euros ($7972) a month, up to eight times what some officials get, but it wasn’t said whether the plan was a step toward privatizing the agency.
The Ministry of Labor is finalizing the details of the call for applications, Kathimerini said in a report. The move is likely to fire some political opponents, most notably the major opposition SYRIZA, who does not want private managers.
It also means Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis is continuing his near-total overhaul of EFKA with plans he devised once he took over to modernize an agency that has a reputation for being slow and inefficient.
When workers in Greece retire, it can take two years or more before they see their first benefit checks and they are not allowed to work in the meantime, leaving those without savings or resources to try and get paid work under the table.
The reforms include a hotline, hiring private lawyers and accountants to help reduce the still huge pile of pending online applications to speed them up, and setting up a so-called “digital communications room,” the report added.
Several of these reforms have been opposed by public sector unions as ‘creeping privatization’.
He told the paper that hiring managers, including from outside, would drastically improve the state agency’s governance model and attract experienced and capable people, no idea what would happen to the current managers.
One of the eligibility requirements for the job is a minimum of 10 years of experience in management positions in the private or public sector, in Greece or abroad. There was no mention of how he would get around the requirement that workers cannot be hired if their degrees are not from a public Greek university.
Successful candidates will be hired on a three-year, renewable once-contract basis. There are still 56,000 main pensions to be processed, as well as tens of thousands of supplementary pensions, lump sum payments and other more specific cases from the 2016-22 files.
There are also several appeals processes, estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000, for those who have received a lower pension than they expected, and the report said one benefit of handling old applications is that those who received a minimum during the wait, retroactive payments will be received.