Cyprus Mail

No unemployment benefits for former bank employees, says attorney-general

Attorney General George Savvides

No unemployment benefit will be given to the 1,000 former bank employees who left their jobs on a voluntary retirement scheme with some collecting up to €200,000, according to the opinion of the attorney-general Giorgos Savvides.

Employees who left Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and Alpha Bank as part of the early retirement scheme were expecting the legal opinion of the AG on whether they are also entitled to unemployment benefit after they applied to the social insurance fund.

According to the opinion of the attorney-general, forwarded to Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos a few days prior, the former bank employees cannot receive unemployment benefits like other workers who exited with similar plans in the past, Philenews wrote on Friday.

The specific employees are not considered as unemployed because they left through a voluntary plan, receiving redundancy and additional compensation from their employer.

The bank workers unions (Etyk) were informed about the AG’s opinion.

Bank employees retiring early benefit from zero tax on their compensation which amounts up to €200,000.

Moreover, for two years they remain eligible for supplementary healthcare plans offered to bank union members. And they also remain eligible for low-interest home and student loans, per their employment contracts.

Additionally, they and their dependents enjoy insurance coverage from their banks for two years.

They used to also be eligible for a six-month unemployment benefit, however, a recent court decision was the basis to change this practice. Hence, Koushos put their applications to the social insurance fund on hold earlier this month.

The case concerned a private-sector employee had applied for unemployment benefit after taking an early retirement package. The person filed a suit after his application for the benefit was denied.

But the court ruled against him, finding that he had been adequately compensated by his former employer.

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