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New scheme to keep social insurance debtors out of jail

A government bill enabling people to pay in monthly instalments their dues to the Social Insurance Fund will be voted on at the plenum this Thursday.
It is designed to give people an alternative way of settling their arrears and thus avoid being prosecuted by the state for petty sums.
Under the current system, individuals owing as little as €500 have ended up in jail, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou told MPs.
Under the proposed legislation, people will be given three months to register with the new instalments scheme.
They will then come to an arrangement to settle their arrears in up to 36 monthly instalments. MPs of the House finance committee asked that this period be extended to 48 months, which the minister said she would consider.
Individuals will also have the option of making alternative arrangements, such as paying a higher than the minimum designated instalment and thus settling their arrears faster.
They will also be given the option of paying the entire due amount at once, in which case the penalty on arrears will be deleted, as an incentive.
For those opting to pay in instalments, the penalty on arrears will be deducted gradually, according to the monthly instalment.
The bill stipulates that, in order to continue being eligible for the plan, a person cannot miss a single instalment payment.
The state will hold off prosecuting persons who are consistent with the plan.
In addition, according to Emilianidou, the bill provides that no legal action will be taken against persons receiving Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) while a person is a GMI beneficiary, up to December 31, 2016.
Arrears to the Social Insurance Fund currently amount to some €300 million.
The instalment scheme will also apply to other funds, such as the Redundancy Fund and the Social Cohesion Fund.



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