New numbers released by the Czech Social Security Administration have revealed that at the end of last year the Czech Republic had roughly 477,000 pensioners who had taken early retirement. That includes a marked pension cut of 1,160 crowns less per month. The number of early retirees has also tripled since the year 2000.
More than half a million Czechs are currently out of work, and the prospects are particularly bleak for people in their 50s who are too young to retire, but by all accounts too old to be of interest to potential employers. People who find themselves out of a job in this age group have only a 50 percent chance of getting employed and the threat of never finding work again is very real. This is something that the NGO Alternativa 50+ is trying to change.
The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of a man who has accused the Office of the Government of age discrimination. The man claims that he and five other employees over 50 had been sacked on the grounds of a planned re-organization under which their posts were to have been scrapped, but a few months later these positions were all filled by young people under 28 years of age. Several court verdicts went in favour of the Office of the Government until the man filed a complaint with the Constitutional court, which overturned the earlier verdicts in a ruling that is seen as an important precedent. The case will now go back to a lower court to be reviewed.
The results of a study conducted by Masaryk University in Brno suggest that age is the most frequent cause of discrimination in the Czech Republic, with almost one-fifth of respondents aged between 18 and 80 saying they had personally experienced it at some point in their lives. One-tenth of respondents said they had experienced gender discrimination, and six percent said they had been discriminated against for health reasons. The Czech Republic still lacks an anti-discrimination law, though the country should have passed it upon its entry to the EU in 2004. President Vaclav Klaus recently vetoed an anti-discrimination bill on the grounds that other laws guaranteed adequate protection against all forms of discrimination.