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Cyprus

Labour minister pledge to look into expanding benefits for 1974 combatants

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou has promised to look into extending benefits to war combatants from 1974, after complaints that the honorary allowance is too low and does not cover all people who think they should be eligible.

The honorary allowance to combatants and prisoners of war was instituted a year ago.

The amount is considered too low, and it’s been proposed that it be replaced by a minimum of €20.

The amount of the honorary allowance depends on a person’s pension: the higher the pension, the lower the allowance.

In parliament, a group representing 1974 combatants proposed that the benefit be decoupled from the pension.

Another issue is that eligibility for the honorary allowance is currently limited to persons receiving a statutory pension. By contrast, individuals who are on welfare are not entitled to, and do not receive, the honorary allowance; there are about 500 persons who fall into this category.

Also not receiving this allowance are Cypriots who served a longer stint in the military because of the events of 1974 and who are currently living overseas and are not eligible for a Cypriot statutory pension. These individuals should not be discriminated against, MPs said.

Currently, about 12,400 people are eligible for the wartime honorary allowance. The total annual cost of the benefit is €6.12 million.

Also on Tuesday the House labour committee discussed legislation to establish a single labour inspection agency tasked with monitoring and cracking down on undeclared work.

The government has re-submitted an amended bill, after a previous bill fell by the wayside.

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