The Italian government, led by prime minister Giorgia Meloni, is planning to reform its pension system in the direction of a longer working life in the industries where there is currently a shortage of workers.

“We will carry out a pension reform with a view to next decade encouraging people to stay at work in the sectors where there is a need,” said Claudio Durigon, undersecretary for the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, and member of the League party, in a interview with newspaper La Repubblica.

Durigon said that in Italy there are over half a million unfilled job positions. “In sectors such as healthcare where there is a shortage of workers we must encourage people to stay [at work]“, he added in the interview.

The undersecretary also floated the idea of giving bonuses to doctors to persuade them to work longer. Doctors’ pensions has “obvious critical issues”, he said, adding: “There has been short-sightedness on the part of governments over time.”

In 2019, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Italy the hardest at the beginning, Durigon’s party, the League, at the time ina coallition with the Five Star Movement, pushed for the introduction of the so-called ‘quota 100’, giving people the possibility to retire at 62 with 38 years of contributions, for a three-year period.

According to a 2022 report published by Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Previdenza Sociale (INPS), 7,225 doctors opted for ‘quota 100’ during the pandemic, when they were needed the most, with 90.4% of those retiring earlier being employed in companies or bodies of the national health service.

Durigon said 2024 “will be a key year” to change the country’s pension system through a reform that will be “sustainable for the public budget and for the labour market, flexible and long-lasting”.

The government aims to index pensions for next 10 years, he continued, adding that it also plans to introduce ‘quota 41’, giving workers the option to retire with 41 years of contributions regardless of age.

Durigon also said in the interview that Meloni’s government is close to abolishing the ‘Fornero law’, which has increased retirement age, despite having defined more stringent requirements for early retirement in the budget law for 2024.

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