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Czech father of five fighting for lower retirement age

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Prague, March 1 (CTK) – Czech resident Pavel Simecek, 59, a father of five children, feels discriminated against as a man, and has been fighting with authorities for a lower retirement age, so far in vain, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes on Tuesday.

Simecek argues that if he had been a woman with so many children, he could have retired at the age of 58, but as a man he can only do so after reaching 63 years and eight months. He says he considers this unjust and immoral.

This is why he has sent a complaint to Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD), pointing to the discrimination against men in terms of retirement age.

“I remember how eagerly Marksova was promoting equal rights of both genders in Gender Studies in the past. Now it is as if she has forgotten the issue completely,” Simecek told MfD.

He minds that the number of children is taken into consideration only in the case of women. He says he and his wife have participated in the upbringing of their kids equally.

They have three daughters and two sons, who are all adult now, and all of them, except for a 24-year-old daughter who is still studying at university, have jobs.

“The state now has an economic profit from what I invested in the children in the past,” Simecek told MfD.

This is why he asked for an old-age pension last January, but his request was naturally rejected by the social authority because of his low age.

However, a clerk advised him to turn to Marksova and ask her for an extraordinary intervention “to ameliorate the harshness of the legislation,” to put it legally. However, he failed as well, MfD writes.

While Marksova did not react to his proposals for redressing this injustice, Ombudsman Anna Sabatova wrote to him, admitting that his stance was logical.

However, the pension matter is not in her jurisdiction and it cannot be assessed on the basis of the anti-discrimination law either, she added.

“I share your opinion that the different retirement ages for men and women do not meet the constitutional demand for equality before law,” Sabatova wrote to Simecek.

His wife Andrea, 56, also supports his crusade. “We have been living together for over 35 years and my husband has always looked after the family perfectly. He is exhausted and I wish he could have a rest,” Andrea Simeckova told the paper.

The retirement age has been rising in the Czech Republic yearly – by two months for men and by four months for women, and it should eventually reach the same level for both genders.

At present, men can retire at the age of over 63 years, childless women at the age of 62 and women with children earlier, based on the number of their children. The Labour and Social Affairs has proposed that the age limit be 65.

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