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Wed 23 Mar 2016 12:15 PM

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Saudi councillors propose increasing kingdom-wide retirement age

Shura council divided over proposals to raise age of retirement to 62

Saudi councillors propose increasing kingdom-wide retirement age
Saudi Shoura Council. (Getty Images)

The Shura council in Saudi Arabia has proposed raising the age of retirement to 62 from 60 – but it prompted a mixed response from members, local media reported.

Proposals set out in a report by the council’s Finance Committee last week call for the retirement age to be raised because people were living longer, and for employers to raise their contributions to civilian pensions by 5 percent (for members of the military the rise would be 7 percent).

The committee also proposed that the Ministry of Finance increase its support to the Public Pension Agency from 9 percent to 12 percent, which would increase the share paid to state employees on retirement.

The changes would be enacted through proposed amendments to the Civil Service Retirement Law, according to Arab News.

However, in the Shura council’s first discussions of the report on Monday, members were divided over whether or not to approve the proposals, reported Saudi Gazette.

Several members opposed the plans to raise the retirement age to 62, arguing that it would negatively impact on university graduates’ job prospects and run counter to government policies to reduce unemployment.

However, others called for the retirement age to be raised for selected professions only, for example doctors and academics, and claimed that the private sector should seek to create as many jobs as possible, and that a higher retirement age would help to facilitate that.

The council is expected to continue deliberations on proposed amendments over the coming weeks.

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