BerlinIn the last faction meeting of the CDU and CSU before the summer break, Carsten Linnemann vented his anger. The Union faction vice demanded that the Grand Coalition should finally deliver the promised relief in the company pensions. Otherwise, "the company pension scheme goes to the dogs," he warned. Occupational pensions for young people are becoming increasingly unattractive as an additional cover for old age. Union fraction leader Ralph Brinkhaus called, according to meeting participants, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) to find a solution over the summer.
Since 2004, retirees have been required to pay occupational pensions not only as health insurance but also as employer contributions. The Social Democrats promise for some time to abolish the so-called double contribution again. Last December, the CDU party congress also took a decision to relieve the company pensioners.
According to the Handelsblatt, the Union and SPD were already close to reaching an agreement before the June meeting of their parliamentary group leaders in mid-June. The considerations go in the direction of converting the existing exemption limit for the company pensions of 155.75 euros a month into a tax-free allowance. A tax deduction is always tax-free, in the case of an exemption limit, however, contributions are due on the entire amount if they are exceeded.
According to a coalition paper available to the Handelsblatt, the change would mean that around one third of those affected will still not have to pay health insurance premiums for remuneration from occupational pensions. Another third, who receive a company pension up to a maximum of about € 310 per month, would be charged under the new scheme instead of the full maximum of half the contribution rate.
The conversion of exemption limit into free allowance would therefore lead to a shortfall of 1.2 billion euros in the statutory health insurance. In the end it was disputed whether the defaults were fully borne by the health insurance companies or tax money was shot at. "We need reliable information on who takes over the financing," it says from Union circles.
The deputy SPD parliamentary group leader Karl Lauterbach confirmed that the Grand Coalition was on the verge of a "mature diploma". He was "very confident" that now in September a solution could be presented. The SPD pension expert Ralf Kapschack told the Handelsblatt: "It is good that finally movement in the topic comes. For occupational pensions to become more attractive, they must be relieved of health insurance contributions. "
"Silent majority" in the CDU
With the conversion to the full contribution charge 2004 was to be helped the financially troubled health insurance companies. Millions of retirees who had signed their company pension plans before the new regulation felt cheated by politics. Particularly large was the displeasure with direct insured, whose one-time capital payments were previously completely free of contributions. However, the retroactive compensation demanded by many concerned is unrealistic given the estimated cost of around € 40 billion.
At the beginning of the year, Spahn drafted a bill proposing a return to half the contribution rate on occupational pensions. The minister estimated the costs for the health insurance companies at around three billion euros annually. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) vetoed, the draft did not make it to the Cabinet.
Since then, efforts have focused on a tax-exempt model. According to participants, several members of parliament, who demanded a speedy discharge of company pensions, reported to the Union faction on Tuesday afternoon. The CSU politician Emmi Zeulner referred to the high reserves of the statutory health insurance. These should be used to relieve contributors also in occupational pensions.
However, not all parliamentarians of the CDU and the CSU see any need for action in the double allocation. In Union circles, there is talk of a "silent majority" that does not share Linnemann's position on the subject. In the group meeting, however, only the CSU MP Max Straubinger openly declared opposition.
More: In the basic pension SPD and Union are divided. There is a need for action: According to a study, the risk of poverty in old age could increase in the future.
Occupational pensions (t) Basic pension (t) Old age poverty (t) Pensions (t) Employee (t) Social security (t) Pensions (t) Party (t) Health insurance (t) statutory (t) SPD (t) CDU (t) CSU (t) Carsten Linnemann (t) Jens Spahn