Pension schemes are the most important component of the social protection system. At present, more than 2.4 million people receive various types of pensions from the agencies of labour, employment and social protection.
The right to pension benefits, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, is being realised through the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On pensions" (hereinafter – the Law) and other related legislation.
The Law has secured conditions for granting employment-based pensions: old-age, disability, long-service and survivour’s pensions as well as pensions for meritorious service to the Republic.
As a standard, entitlement to old-age pension begins at the age of sixty for men, with a service record of minimum twenty-five years, and at the age of fifty-five for women, with a service record of minimum twenty years. A service record of at least five years, with compulsory insurance contributions for the said period having been duly paid, is a prerequisite for realisation of the right to pension benefits.
Length of service prior to pension entitlement as well as earnings, which compulsory insurance contributions have been paid from, are taken into account when calculating the amount of pension. Until 2000, calculation of pensions was based on aggregated earnings for any five consecutive years of the last 15 years of service. Since 2000, this period has been increased annually by one year (in 2000, calculation of pensions was based on earnings for any six consecutive years of the last 16 years of service, in 2001 – for seven years of the last 17 years, etc.).
The minimum amount of old-age pension is set at the level of 25 per cent of the highest value of the subsistence budget per capita approved by the Government of the Republic of Belarus over the last two quarters (Article 23 of the Law).
The minimum amount of disability pension for disability groups I and II is set at the level of 100 per cent of the minimum old-age pension, for disability group III – 50 per cent, and for heroine mothers (disability group regardless) – 100 per cent (Article 31 of the Law).
The minimum amount of survivour’s pension is set at the level of 100 per cent of the minimum old-age pension; for orphaned children and orphans who do not receive monthly insurance benefits for parent’s death – 200 per cent (Article 38 of the Law).
The minimum amount of long-service pension is set at the level of 100 per cent of the minimum employment-based pension (Article 50 of the Law).
The Ordinance of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of 22 December 1999 № 1976 has set a monthly supplement of 15 per cent of the average wage of workers in the republic to pensions calculated at a minimum rate. In accordance with Article 70 of the Law, the average wage of workers in the republic is used for adjustment of pensioners’ actual earnings when granting and recalculating pensions due to growth of average wages (hereinafter – extra payment to minimum pensions).
Allowances for care (Articles 25, 33, 41-1, 50-1 of the Law) and/or increases (Article 68 of the Law) are set as supplements to pensions of certain categories of pensioners.
Disabled citizens who do not receive employment-based pensions are entitled to receive social pensions. According to Article 73 of the Law, calculation of these pensions is based on the highest value of the subsistence budget per capita approved by the Government of the Republic of Belarus over the last two quarters and their amounts are determined according to the following rates:
for disabled persons of disability group I, including disabled persons since childhood, – 85 per cent; for disabled persons since childhood of disability group II – 75 per cent; for disabled persons of disability group II (except disabled since childhood), children who lost a bread-winner (item "a" of part three and part four of Article 35 of the Law) for each child – 65 per cent; for disabled persons of disability group III – 55 per cent; for persons over the age of sixty (men), and fifty-five (women) – 50 per cent; for disabled children under 18 with loss-of-health degree: I – 60 per cent, II – 65 per cent, III – 75 per cent, IV – 85 per cent.
Step-by-step increase of pensions is one of the priorities of the government social policy regarding pension benefits. Recalculation of pensions occurs on the occasion of:
1. growth of the national average wage;
2. change of the subsistence budget per capita.
In accordance with Article 70 of the Law, recalculation of employment-based pensions resulted from the increase of the average wage of workers in the republic is carried out if such increase over the past quarter makes up more than 15 per cent compared with the value of the average wage applied in the last recalculation. If in a given calendar year there is no reason for recalculating pensions, retirement pensions are to be recalculated from 1 November on the basis of the average wage of workers in the republic for the third quarter.
Simultaneously, extra payment to minimum pensions is recalculated.
In accordance with Article 69 of the Law, minimum employment-based pensions and social pensions as well as supplemental allowances to pensions and pension increases are recalculated when the value of the subsistence budget per capita changes.