Cheaper train and bus fares for people under 26 and over 65 were introduced
in the Czech Republic on Saturday. They will now have to pay just a quarter
the price of regular tickets.
The move represents the fulfilment of one of the promises made by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party in pre-election campaigning. It will cost the state up to CZK 6 billion crowns, though no precise estimate can be made, iDnes.cz reported.
The news website said Czech Railways had set aside 50 extra carriages with a capacity of 4,000 seats in case there were a sudden spike in traveller numbers.
The number of people who receive Czech pensions and live abroad has been
steadily growing in recent years, according to data released by the Czech
Social Security Administration on Tuesday. In 2017, the number of Czech
pensioners living abroad reached 93,236 compared to 59,548 in 2010.
More than two thirds of the recipients are based in neighbouring countries: 32,000 pensions are sent to Slovakia, over 19,000 to Germany and over 15,000 to Poland. In total, the Czech Social Security Administration is sending pensions to people in 88 foreign countries.
In several countries there was only one recipient in 2017, including Algeria, India and Madagascar.
Pensions next year are set to go up by an average of 475 crowns per month
next year, the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová
announced on Monday.
The planned increase is the highest since 2008.
According to the Czech social security administration, the average monthly pension at the end of June amounted to 11,807 crowns. Prior to the current government, the average stood at 10,970 crowns.
The Czech Republic’s retirement homes and other social care facilities are lacking thousands of employees, according to the Association of Social Services Providers. It says low pay in the sector makes it difficult for organisations to find and hang on to staff. This is putting such services at risk and may preclude people finding places in care facilities. Many Czech care workers seek employment in neighbouring Germany and Austria, where even basic language skills can suffice, the association said.
Over 90 percent of young Czechs don’t know what the average old-age pension is in the Czech Republic or how much their parents’ or grandparents’ receive, according to a survey carried out by Broker Consulting. Over 60 percent of those asked thought that the average old-age pension ranged between 14,000 and 17,000 crowns, but in fact it only ranges between 9,000 and 12,000, nearly 60 percent of Czechs said they need to receive around 17,000 crowns a month when they retire to make end meets.
Government leaders have failed to agree on a formula for increasing pension payments to the elderly. A proposal that pensions be increased by half the level of real wages instead of the current third was put forward by the leading government party, the Social Democrats. Both coalition parties ANO and the Christian Democrats had reservations and have called for further discussion. Figures from 2015 showed most pensioners receiving less than 11,230 crowns a month, just above the poverty level for individuals. Government leaders met late Monday.