A reduction is always called for when pension insurance reserves exceed 1.5 months’ expenditure.
At the end of may, 27.9 billion euros were in reserve. The equivalent of 1.57 months. Premium income was up 1.1 percent compared to the same month last year. And this despite the fact that the pension contribution was reduced at the beginning of the year from 19.6 to 18.9 percent of gross income. With a gross income of 3000 euro per month, this resulted in a relief of 10.50 euro. In 2011, the contribution rate was still 19.9 percent.
Last year, the good economic situation and the employment boom gave the statutory pension insurance fund its biggest financial cushion ever. At the end of 2012, the backlog had climbed to 29.4 billion euros.
In the draft budget of federal finance minister wolfgang schauble (CDU), there is a hint that the pension contribution could drop next year. At the same time, it is made clear that this will not be concretely determined until the fall. Speculation was already rife about a reduction to 18.7 percent.
Additional spending on pension insurance is on the horizon: if the CDU/CSU wins the election, it wants to improve pensions for elderly mothers and people with reduced earning capacity. This costs billions. Schauble said: "it is clear that the scope for reducing contributions will not become any greater as a result of the mother’s pension."Chancellor angela merkel (CDU) had already made similar remarks.
The pension expert and vice-chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, heinrich kolb, considers a reduction in pension contributions to be imperative: "if there is room for maneuver, there must be a reduction," he told dpa. This would relieve the burden on employees and companies, and create more employment. He rejected any intervention in the automatic lowering system.
Left-wing party leader bernd riexinger called for a possible reduction in contributions to be abandoned, as did the german federation of trade unions (DGB). "Anyone who lowers the pension contribution for the third time in a row is at the same time shortchanging the pensions of future generations," said DGB executive board member annelie buntenbach. She campaigned for a "contribution reduction brake".
Employers disagreed: "it is not only mandatory by law, but also urgently necessary that the contribution rate be lowered when the pension insurance reserves exceed the maximum limit. All experience shows that high social security reserves only lead to short-sighted additional expenditures," countered the employers’ association BDA.
The president of the social association sovd, adolf bauer, called for an end to the debate on a further contribution cut. Millions of pensioners are waiting for urgently needed benefit improvements.