Another pro-family measure has become a reality in Slovakia where the parental bonus was approved by the National Council of the Slovak Republic last October.
In the Challenge to the government , which was addressed to the government in 2018 by 12 pro-family organizations, they demanded to consider children as the 0th pension pillar – transferring part of the contributions of working children directly to the parents’ pension. This motivates parents to have more responsible working children and helps the pension system. At the same time, intergenerational solidarity is strengthened in families.
We have called it the 0th pension pillar because the family has always been based on the parents taking care of the children and vice versa – the children taking care of the parents in their old age. With the introduction of the pension system, some of the ties have been broken. Of course, the creators of the pension system did not foresee the development of the current society, in which people are having fewer and fewer children, and so the so-called first pension pillar is becoming unsustainable.
The Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Milan Krajniak, who pushed through the parental bonus after a complex political struggle, writes about it: “The pension system must not punish mothers for parental love. For loving their children, taking them to and from school, preparing their snacks, accompanying them to and from clubs, cooking their dinner and doing their homework with them. A mother who has brought up two children and will retire in 2023 will receive a pension of EUR 80 a month and EUR 960 a year less than her childless colleague. We want to alleviate this unfairness at least in part with a parental bonus.”
Of course, it is always possible to improve the set-up of the system, but these days an important systemic step has been taken, the addition of a stabilising element to the pension system, which is unsustainable due to the emerging (Slovak) demographic crisis. According to the Financial Policy Institute, Slovakia will become the second fastest ageing country in the EU by 2070. According to other data, by 2060, one in three people will be 65 or older – making Slovakia one of the oldest countries in the world.
Perhaps we do not feel it so much today; these problems seem very distant. However, since we care about our children and the generations to come, we are not indifferent to the kind of country we will leave them. That is why the introduction of the parental bonus is very important and we welcome it.