Parliament Reconsiders Pension Reform, Women’s Retirement Age

ASTANA – Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has returned to Parliament for further discussion a draft law on pension system reform, which includes raising the retirement age for women from 58 to 63.

The change would make the retirement age for women the same as it is for men and was proposed to be implemented over 10 years beginning in 2014.

In a televised address to the people of Kazakhstan on June 7 concerning pension reform issues, the President said that he supports the draft law in general, but he believes that not all aspects of pension system reform have been fully considered.

He has returned the draft law to the Parliament for additional discussion and voting on the term of the introduction of the rules to raise the retirement age for women.

Nazarbayev also proposed to begin a phased increase of the retirement age for women not from Jan. 1, 2014, but from Jan. 1, 2018. “This will enable reform to the pension system by fully taking into account the interests of the Kazakh people.”

Olesya Khalabuzar, chairperson of the Society of Young Professionals, recently told a press conference that social activists are developing their alternative concept of pension reform, which they intend to present to Nazarbayev in July.

According to social activists, it is too soon to curtail the campaign against pension reform. They noted that a new movement known as the Union of Women of Kazakhstan has been recently created. “When the President delayed the draft law on increasing the retirement age for women, we received congratulations for a victory. However, we intend to use the period, for which the consideration of the pension issue has been delayed, to explain and to carry out agitation work,” President of the Ulagatty Zhanuya Public Fund Marianna Gurina said.

“There are 13 types of pensions in many countries, but we have only three. In addition, in any country in the world a woman can choose, for example, to retire at a certain age if she is the mother of many children or to retire at a certain age if she is the mother of children with disabilities. Or, if she has the desire to work at 70 years old, she can continue to work. It is necessary to approach the issue on a case by case basis,” Gurina said.

According to Gurina, social activists intend to seek a personal meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, where they plan to talk not only about pension reform, but also about other draft laws that concern women in Kazakhstan, including the payment of maternity benefits and alimony.

Activist Khalabuzar added that the members of the movement are elaborating their concept of pension reform together with economists. She noted that one of the main proposals is the return from a defined contribution pension system to a pay-as-you-go pension system.