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Government submits bill for overdue social insurance payments

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou

The government has submitted a new bill allowing the payment of overdue social insurance contributions through 48 monthly instalments instead of 36 it had previously proposed.

It also gives someone four months to apply to enter the scheme instead of three.

The previous bill had been approved by parliament on April 14 but it was amended by opposition parties, which raised the number of instalments to 60 from 36.

This prompted President Nicos Anastasiades to veto the bill and send it back to parliament.

The president argued that the increase in the number of instalments would affect the sustainability of the fund.

Anastasiades also raised the issue of unequal treatment as the increase in instalments appeared to favour those who owed large amounts of money.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou told MPs on Friday that people owed around €288mln to the fund. The aim of the bill was to prevent people from going to jail for small amounts owed to the fund.

More than half of the debtors were self-employed.

The bill provides for a minimum instalment depending on the amount owed.

For debts up to €500, the instalment is €25; €50 for up to €1,000 owed, and €75 for over 1,000.

Ruling DISY MP Marios Mavrides said the House Labour Committee will convene on Tuesday and parties will table their final position as regards the number of instalments. Mavrides said there was a proposal for 54.

The bill was expected to be put to the vote on Thursday.

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