Prague, June 8 (CTK) – The Czech Senate smoothly passed the government-sponsored amendment to the pension law today, introducing a higher regular indexation of pensions.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) told the senators that the state would spend 2.5 billion crowns more on pensions next year as a result.

The CSSD pushed through the new indexation formula as recommended by the pension commission. If it were applied, a monthly pension would rise by some 500 crowns on average instead of the current 400 crowns next year.

Under the amendment that is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman, pensions should be increased by one-half of the rise in real wages, instead of by one-third, and by the rise in the prices of commodities that seniors buy.

This inflation level would be used for the calculation if it were more advantageous for pensioners than the current general rise in prices.

The amendment also sets the maximum retirement age at 65 years. However, the government may change this limit according to the average lifespan. Until now, no maximum retirement age has been set by law.

Under the communist regime in the 1980s, men retired at 60, women between 54 and 58 depending on the number of children. Under the present system, men’s retirement age is extended by two months and women’s by four months every year. This gradually lowers the difference between men and women.

($1=23.459 crowns)