Minimum Monthly Salary to Increase to 220 leva, Maximum Contributory Income to 2,000 leva in 2008

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Minimum Monthly Salary to Increase to 220 leva, Maximum Contributory Income to 2,000 leva in 2008

The minimum monthly salary in 2008 will be increased from the current 180 leva (roughly equal to 90 euros) to 220 leva, under a bill on the public social insurance budget Parliament discussed Thursday at a first reading debate, BTA reports.

Unemployment benefits are proposed to be between 90 leva to 190 leva. Child benefits, for raising of children between 10 months and 24 months, will be increased from 180 leva to 190 leva.

The social security payments will be divided 60-40 between employer and employee.

The maximum contributory income of self-insured people will be increased from 220 leva to 240 leva.

All of the above measures are expected to generate revenue of 3,786,772,600 leva (1.936 bln euros) in 2008.

Pensions will be increased by 9.5 per cent in July 2008. The minimum pension until the end of June is set at nearly 103 leva, and as of July, at 112 leva.

The Coalition for Bulgaria said it will vote in favour of the draft public social insurance budget but will propose higher child benefits and unemployment benefits.

The Simeon II National Movement too said it will support the draft public social insurance budget but will invite more debates and consultations on reducing the maximum contributory income.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms said it will support the draft bill but will further discuss the maximum contributory income and ways to increase the pension ceiling set at 490 leva.

The opposition United Democratic Forces argued that the inflation in 2008 will exceed the envisaged increase of pensions and that increasing the maximum contributory income will serve as a stimulus for people to avoid payment of social insurance contributions.

The opposition Democrats for Strong Bulgaria described as a step in the right direction the 60-40 ratio of the social security burden but urged for even bolder actions, i.e. reducing the payments.

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