President of Poland discusses pensions with social scientists

Sylwia Pieńkowska-Kamieniecka, Ph.D., from the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Warmia and Mazury (UWM) was a member of the scientific team that prepared a report on pensions for the president of Poland.

On the 19th of January in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, the debate “How to secure a good income for old age—the role of voluntary pension savings” took place with the participation of Bronisław Komorowski, president of Poland. One of the participants in the debate was Sylwia Pieńkowska-Kamieniecka, Ph.D., assistant professor with the Chair of Social Policy and Insurance of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of UWM. She had been invited to participate because she was a member of a team that prepared a report for the president on the country's pension system. She has been interested in the topics of additional pension security and pension awareness among Poles for 10 years.

Why is the president of Poland interested in pensions?

In 1999, a new pension system was introduced in Poland, according to which contributions from the public sector were to be supplemented by voluntary contributions. As a result of changes in the pension calculation method, the future amounts of these public contributions will be much lower than current pensions. This problem captured the attention of President Komorowski. He wanted to know what actions should be taken in order to popularise savings in the so-called "third pillar" of retirement income and to make it more accessible to all of the public, not just the richest.

What solutions did scientists propose in the report? ‘In our report, we presented three solutions based on international experience,' explained Dr Pieńkowska-Kamieniecka. ‘The first solution introduces tax relief, which would allow the poorer to deduct a larger amount of their contributed premium from taxes and the rich to deduct less. Relief should be addressed to the poorest because the richest will save anyway, even without extra motivation. The second solution assumes a one-off contribution from the state to private pension schemes at the time the account is set up, which would amount, for example, to PLN 1,000 (the starting fee), on the condition that the employee saves money according to some scheme for a certain number of years, otherwise the amount of state contribution would have to be refunded. One novel idea is proposed in the third solution, which introduces automatic employee pension schemes according to the British and New Zealand models. All employees of large enterprises (those employing more than 300 people) would be included in such a scheme, but it would also be possible for them to withdraw from it at a certain time. This would also apply to companies that have already introduced such a scheme for their employees. The premium could be financed from a portion of funds from the company’s employee benefit fund. The employee would also contribute a specific amount, e.g., 1% of his/her salary, to the premium.’

Will the ideas proposed in the report be considered further?

‘Our intention was to start a debate on new optimum solutions, and the president has already done this. But it is up to politicians whether they want to use any of the systems or not,’ concluded the scientist.

Lech Kryszałowicz

Read more at:,32,konieczne-dalsze-zmiany-w-systemie-emerytalnym.html


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