The General Director of Social Security Planning focuses the debate on the future of the system on its sustainability, its financial situation and the quality of the benefits.
The Director General of Social Security Planning, Borja Suárez Corujo, has assured that there is enough room to undertake reforms both in the field of Social Security financing and in terms of the definition of benefits. For this, he said, it is essential to recover the consensus of both the social partners and the parliamentary groups that make up the Toledo Pact Commission.
In his closing speech, the General Director of Ordenación, Borja Suárez, began by thanking the people who have participated in their contributions and highlighting the importance of a forum for debate and dialogue such as the one offered by the Menéndez Pelayo International University.
The general director has focused his intervention on the three issues that, in his opinion, occupy the debate on the future of the Social Security system: future sustainability, financial status, as well as quality of benefits; and, finally, the need to continue acting on the system to adapt it to the current reality.
Present of Social Security
Social Security, and more specifically pensions, must ensure the dual objective of avoiding poverty and preserving social cohesion as a tool for redistribution, Suarez said.
The General Director of Planning has referred to the volume of deficit presented by the Social Security account in 2018 – more than 18,000 million euros – to indicate that it is worrying but not a reason for alarm, "The system is perfectly sustainable in the future and comparable to the one that today allows paying a sufficient level of benefits to millions of people in Spain ".
In this sense, he said, we must talk about expenses and income. In the first aspect, Suárez has denied that the system produces an "excess of generosity". In the item of expenses, "the new highs belie the alarmism," he said, and explained that the increase in both the number of pensioners and the amount of the average pension has moderated. In addition, the effective retirement age is above 64 years.
On the income side, the main source is social contributions, which grow at 8% after a few years in which they have been a worrying element. This increase, has materialized, is due to the measures adopted since last year. Increase in the maximum and minimum contribution base, adjustments in the quota for professional contingencies and the rise of 2% of the salaries derived from the Agreement for the Negotiation of Agreements and driven by the increase of the SMI.
The other leg of the financing of the System is the contribution of the State, which Suarez has described as "limited" in relation to the countries of our environment. "In Germany it reaches 37% and 26% in France, in Spain it only reaches 14%, which gives us a clue as to where we can move forward".
Advance in the protective action
Suarez has called attention to the progress that has been made regarding the protective action of Social Security. In particular, it has referred to the recovery of the purchasing power of pensions and has insisted on completing this process to ensure that in the future there is no "anomalous" situation of freezing.
He also wanted to point out what the reformulation of maternity and maternity benefits has meant, "one of the changes with the most important transforming potential of society in the last decades".
The gender gap continues to be the great deficit of the system, a consequence of part of the labor market, but also related to the very design of Social Security, which favors typically masculine professional careers. "It is necessary to correct the elements that reward certain male contribution races and penalize female ones," he said.
Challenges to face
The future of Social Security first involves identifying the challenges, mainly those related to the transformation of reality: the aging of the population and the incorporation of baby boomers into the system, which will cause an increase in spending, especially worrisome in 2030 and 2040.
In the economic-productive environment, digitalization, which already strongly affects Social Security due to the framing of new jobs in the system Regimes.
On the other hand, he has reflected on the situation of a labor market that demands a "capital" challenge to address the problems not only of temporality, but also of instability. "Correcting this trend is essential to ensure the sustainability of the System".
what is there to do
The starting point for preserving the democratic sustainability of the reforms, he said, is that they have the highest degree of consensus with the social partners and political groups. This is what most generations involve.
"The system is perfectly sustainable and comparable in the future to which today it allows paying a sufficient level of benefits to millions of people in Spain". The general director of Ordination has said that it is necessary to reduce the weight of the state loans "that generate concern" and explore the tax possibilities to guarantee pensions.
He also pointed out the possibility of reducing part of the unemployment contribution to transfer it to pensions and rebalancing the inflow of money. Work is already under way to adapt the quotation in the Autonomous Regime to real income, "with all the complexity that comes with it".
He has also proposed talking about student practices. "It is essential to mentalize young people that you have to start trading and generate rights from the beginning of your training."
Finally, to the extent that the health care of Temporary Disability due to common contingencies is the responsibility of the autonomous communities, it is necessary to seek cooperation with them for the recognition and control of this benefit.