site.btaUPDATED Parliament's Social Policy and Budget Committees Back in Principle 2024 Public Social Insurance Budget Bill
The parliamentary Social Policy Committee and Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday approved in principle the 2024 budget of the public social insurance. The bill was adopted by the government on November 24.
The proposed budget provides for an increase by 11% of all pensions granted until the end of 2023. The increase will apply from July 1. As a result of this, the spending on pensions will increase by BGN 2.440 billion. Survivor benefits will be increased to 30% (from the current 26.5%) of the deceased spouse' pension. The appropriations for social payments in connection with the new poverty line of BGN 526 for 2024 total BGN 104.3 million. The government has already voted to raise the minimum wage from BGN 780 to BGN 933 from January next year. This increase will have an effect that will cost BGN 230.3 million, including BGN 224.6 million for remuneration for personal assistants under the Personal Assistance Act and BGN 5.7 million for remuneration of professional foster families under the Child Protection Act.
From January 1, 2024, the minimum contributory income for self-insured persons, farmers and tobacco producers will be increased to BGN 933 from BGN 780. The contributory income ceiling for all insured persons will increase to BGN 3,750 from BGN 3,400.
The maximum daily allowance for jobless people will be increased to BGN 107 from BGN 85.
Georgi Gyokov MP (BSP for Bulgaria) said they would not support the proposed budget because they were unhappy with the underlying policies and they find it to be failing to address the problems with the demographics, poverty and inequality. He said it is a "copy-paste version" of the old public social insurance budget. The Socialists would push for higher maternity benefits during the second year of maternity leave and still higher increase of jobless allowances.
Tsvetan Predov MP of There Is Such a People said his party would not back the budget bill because "it is anything but socially responsible".
Georgi Georgiev MP of Vazrazhdane said they don't like the proposed budget because they find the jobless allowances and maternity benefits to be too low.
Iskren Arabadjiev MP (Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria), who is deputy chair of the social committee, said that his group would back the proposed budget because it continues the policies that his coalition started in 2021. He said that despite the inflation and the difficult recent years, incomes are growing not only in nominal terms, but also in real terms. "As wages grow, the maximum contributory income should increase," he added.
He said that his group supports the retention of the BGN 780 childcare allowance in the second year of maternity; policies that would enable parents to return to the labour market; the policy of compensating the parents of children not enrolled in nurseries; and the increased survivor benefits.