Preparations for fundamental legislative changes affecting social insurance
In 2010, the CSSA and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs continued to prepare draft legislation concerning pension insurance and legislation connected to the implementation of pension insurance. The CSSA gave its opinion on fundamental conceptual documents relating to the continuing pension reform process and on the individual proposed changes to the pension regulations.
Above all, the CSSA was involved in drafting an act addressing the impact of Finding of the Constitutional Court No. 135/2010. This Finding declared unconstitutional the provision of Section 15 of the Pension Insurance Act which lays down the manner for determining the calculation base from which the percentage pension assessment is calculated. The Constitutional Court’s finding of unconstitutionality was based on the fact that, in combination with the other parameters and existing design of the pension system, it does not sufficiently guarantee the constitutionally enshrined right to reasonable materials security. Specifically, the CSSA proposed a method for handling the transition from the existing to the newly proposed reduction limit; this proposed method was accepted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The Ministry also brought to bear certain other comments concerning the currently proposed parametric changes, among them the CSSA’s proposal for making more precise the transitory provisions of Act No. 306/2008 concerning changes to the degree of disability in the case of beneficiaries of the former partial disability pensions in a manner ruling out certain unjustified inequalities. The legislative process related to the change of Section 15 of Act No. 155/1995 and to certain parametric changes will continue in 2011.
As well as preparing the aforementioned act, the CSSA played an active role in preparing certain substantive and technical changes to pension insurance regulations; these changes should come into effect in 2012.
In connection with the Ministry’s intention to achieve savings by restructuring the social security benefits systems the CSSA made a number of suggestions designed to cut expenditure on pension insurance benefits and to reduce the administrative costs of processing them. Above all, the CSSA declared it necessary to stop the adoption of additional legislation that establishes specific legal entitlements for selected groups of the population, even though these insured persons and their employers pay the same social security insurance as other insured persons and their employers.
Sickness insurance and social security insurance
The most fundamental changes affecting the CSSA in 2010 were the amendment of the Sickness Insurance Act effective from 1.6.2010, which changed the parameters for calculating maternity benefit according to the legislation effective until the end of 2009 and the related need to pay supplementary cash benefits in maternity for the period of the first five months of 2010. Besides that, most of the CSSA’s attention was devoted to the economy measures being prepared in sickness insurance and insurance contributions in connection with the draft act on the state budget of the Czech Republic for 2011.
Also at the forefront of the CSSA’s attention was the amendment of the Sickness Insurance Act imposing a duty on the CSSA from 1.8.2010 to pay postal licence holders the price for delivering the specified postal consignments sent by doctors to DSSA/PSSA/BSSA.
Management and methodological work in the sickness insurance field focused mainly on ensuring a uniform procedure for implementing sickness insurance and other tasks of DSSA/PSSA/BSSA in this area and on coping with new tasks related to the legislative changes in sickness insurance (e.g. fulfilling the CSSA’s obligation to pay postal licence holders the price of delivery of consignments sent by doctors to DSSA/PSSA/BSSA and distributing these consignments, processing and paying out supplementary payments of cash benefits in maternity, the institute of regressive compensations, and taking over the payout of sickness insurance benefits to which entitlement was established before 1.1.2009 and which had hitherto been paid out by employers under the previous legislation). The European Union’s new social security coordination regulations entered into effect on 1.5.2010. These are Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation (EC) No. 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems. In this context intensive methodological and training activities took place from the start of the 2nd quarter of the year to ensure that DSSA/PSSA/BSSA were prepared for the tasks related to the new agenda.
In connection with the legislative changes the necessary adjustments to software applications were performed, primarily for the processing and paying out of supplementary cash benefits in maternity. In addition, methodological and training activities accompanied the introduction of new functionalities to application support and work was done on the further development and testing of the central application software.