x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Minimum pension age should be scrapped, says FNC

Emiratis collect pensions after 20 years of work when they have reached the minimum pension age - 55 for men, 50 for women.

The FNC yesterday called on the government to remove the minimum pension age.

Emiratis collect pensions after 20 years of work when they have reached the minimum pension age - 55 for men, 50 for women.

A debate between Dr Abdulrahim Al Shahin (RAK) and Obaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, saw the council agree to call on the government to remove the age requirement.

Many have to retire for reasons beyond their control after 20 years of service but before they reach the required age. They end up in debt while they wait for their pension.

"Why would one get their pension after 20 years just because they reached the age of 50, and another have to wait even though they finished 20 years of service, just because they are under 50?" asked Dr Al Shahin. "This person might have a family, children, a house he needs to spend money on."

Mr Al Tayer said removing the age limit might lead to a large, expensive increase in early retirement. He added that Europe's economic woes highlighted the consequences of a rising number of pensioners.

"What about the humane side of things?" asked Dr Al Shahin. "From where will they spend on their family?" He also called for earlier retirement for women.

Mr Al Tayer said that if the UAE was not serious about supporting Emiratis, it would never have set up a pensions authority.

But Dr Al Shahin said the constitution called for equality and that pensions did not fit the Government's 2021 strategic plan of ensuring everyone had a comfortable life.

"This is the least we can do for Emiratis who spent 20 years in service to their country," he said.

The council agreed to put the recommendation to the cabinet.

osalem@thenational.ae