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Social Insurance

The social security systems in Europe differ very much in terms of financing, services and quality. In a number of countries there are additional social security features for agricultural employees, such as collectively agreed or corporate additional pension schemes.

The Situation in Individual European Countries:

AT: Austria

There is a statutory pension insurance and health insurance, and additional pensions through an accident insurance scheme.

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BE: Belgium

The welfare insurance is organised by the state, and the Inspectorate for Social Law monitors the agreements on worker protection.

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BG: Bulgaria

More than 66 % of the workers in agriculture in Bulgaria are older than 55. That causes social security problems.

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CH: Switzerland

There are 2 systems: the state pension and surviving dependants insurance costing 5.05 % (to be paid from the first franc earned) and the second pillar, BVG (private pension insurance). It is only mandatory for an annual income in excess of 24,000. So a person earning 3,000 per month is only insured with BVG for 1,000, which is about 2 % of the total wage after 25 years. The higher the wage and the age the higher this rate (up to 10 %).

The Swiss welfare insurance scheme is financed by insurance contributions. There is a pension insurance fund of Swiss agriculture, cantonal pension and surviving dependants insurance (state) and 2 private pension insurances (German and French speaking part of Switzerland) for BVG.

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CY: Cyprus

There is a general welfare insurance system to which all employers and employees contribute.

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CZ: Czech Republic

In Czechia there is a state system of welfare insurance.

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DE: Germany

Germany has a statutory system of welfare insurance with a two-partite contribution scheme. Besides the statutory rules for pension insurance there is an additional agriculture pension fund (ZLA/ZLF). It was established by collective agreements and is mandatory for all employees in the West German federal states and in Thuringia. Beyond that certain collective agreements (not covering all regions and sectors) provide rules for corporate pension schemes and pre-retirement part-time work.

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DK: Denmark

Welfare insurance is mainly tax-financed. Anyone who earns an income contributes to the system a percentage that depends on the income level (minimum 8 % - maximum 63 % of the gross income). Services, e. g. medical treatment, are provided free of charge.

The collective agreement also provides for an additional pension scheme. In Denmark unemployment insurance is managed by the trade union. Regardless of union membership a worker may contribute € 45 per month to the trade union's unemployment fund (3 F A). In the event of unemployment he will then receive the according benefit (about 90% of the last gross income). The Danish state co-finances this system by € 45 per month per worker.

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EE: Estonia

After paying contributions for one year a worker is entitled to unemployment benefit (the amount depends on the wage level). After 5 years of employment with contributions paid a worker receives 55 % of his/her average wage. After 10 years of employment with contributions paid he/she receives 100 % of his/her wage. This benefit is paid for one year.

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ES: Spain

There is a uniform welfare insurance system for employees. Various state institutions run the pension, health, unemployment, and accident insurance schemes.

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FI: Finland

In Finland welfare insurance is a public system (pension, health insurance and unemployment insurance). In the event of sickness the employer continues to pay the worker for 9 days, then the public system comes in. A full-time employee continues to receive full payment for 45 days. There is a political discussion about whether employees should receive full payment thereafter.

Employers have to take out private insurance for their workers covering accidents at work and on the way to and from work.

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FR: France

France has a special welfare insurance system for employees and entrepreneurs in agriculture.

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GB: United Kingdom

Welfare insurance is a state system financed by contributions. The health system (National Health Service) is financed by contributions and tax.

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GR: Greece

The welfare insurance body IKA is the largest insurer in Greece. It is financed by employee and employer contributions and by tax.

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HR: Croatia

Employees pay contributions to the Republic's fund for pension insurance.

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HU: Hungary

Hungary has a state welfare insurance system.

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IE: Ireland

There is a state system of social security.

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IS: Iceland

There is a state pension insurance system. Health insurance is based on a private scheme. The collective agreements rule that the companies have to insure their workers.

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IT: Italy

There is a state welfare insurance system called INPS, the national institute of welfare insurance.

The employer must set aside one monthly wage per year as severance payment for the worker. This provision is currently being changed. Funds will be set up that are financed by both sides. Then workers can decide whether their contribution (one monthly wage) should be paid into the fund. That money, plus one additional per cent from the employer and the accruing interest, are then the capital for an additional pension for the worker.

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LT: Lithuania

There is a state scheme for pension, health, accident and unemployment insurance. Men are entitled to a pension at the age of 62.5 years, women at 60. The minimum pension is equivalent to the statutory minimum wage.

Employers pay sickness benefit for 3 days, thereafter the health insurance pays 80% of the average wage.

Unemployment benefit is paid for 6 months. Usually it is 50-70 % of the average wage.

In the event of an accident at work 100% of the wage is paid.

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LU: Luxembourg

There is a financially independent system of social security that is managed by the social partners.

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LV: Latvia

The welfare system is a state scheme. There is an insurance system for all industries, to which 33.09 % of the wage are paid.

The statutory minimum pension is € 101, the average pension is € 110.

A sick employee receives no wage for the first sickness day, thereafter the employer continues to pay 80 % of the wage for two weeks. Then the health insurance comes in. If the employer has not paid contributions to the insurance the worker receives no benefits!

Unemployment money is paid for 9 months, the amount being 80 % of the average income for 3 months, 50 % for another 3 months and the statutory minimum wage for the last 3 months. A person who has not worked for 12 months receives no benefits.

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MT: Malta

Contributions are paid to a state system of pension and welfare insurance.

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NL: Netherlands

There is a statutory pension insurance which pays a minimum pension that is currently € 11,000 per year for singles and € 16,500 for married couples. The calculation basis is the statutory minimum wage. Additional insurance under collective agreements makes it possible after 40 years of insured employment to get up to 75 % of the last salary as pension through a pension fund.

Health insurance is a private scheme. Employers pay 6.5 % of the wage into the system.

Unemployment insurance covers workers for 38 months. From the 1st to the 3rd month 75 % of the wage are paid, and then 70 % up to the 38th month.

The accident insurance is a mandatory insurance financed by the welfare insurance contributions of employers and employees.

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NO: Norway

Health and pension insurance are public systems. Employers have to take out accident insurance for workers in a private system. The annual contribution is € 300.00.

In Norway illness-related absence from work accounts for 10 % of the total working time.

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PL: Poland

Employers insure their workers in the state welfare insurance ZUS. Individual farmers and their families are insured in KRUS. Employers pay higher contributions to ZUS. Persons born after 1949 may pay additional contributions in order to get a higher pension thereafter.

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PT: Portugal

Employees are covered by a statutory mandatory insurance. The system is independent, but under state supervision. It is financed by employee and employer contributions and by public money (tax). Work accident insurance is done by private insurance companies. The system is under state supervision. Entrepreneurs must insure their workers.

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RO: Romania

The social security system in Romania is organised by the state.

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SE: Sweden

There is a state system for health and pension insurance. For the first 14 days of illness the worker receives 85 %. In the event of illness a worker may stay away from work for 7 days without presenting a doctor's certificate. The first illness day is not paid.

A private work accident insurance covers the costs caused by accidents at work and on the way to and from work.

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SI: Slovenia

There is a state welfare insurance system.

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SK: Slovakia

There is a state welfare insurance system.

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TR: Turkey

The right to social security is anchored in the Turkish Basic Law. There are insurance bodies for workers, employees in state companies and self-employed persons. Family members are insured free of charge.

There is pension insurance, unemployment insurance, health insurance as well as maternity leave and maternity allowance.

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