Proposed amendment

Bolsonaro delivers pension reform bill to Brazil’s Congress, provokes attacks

Opposition says new rules tend to make it harder for workers to have access to a retirement plan

President Bolsonaro hands over proposed pension reform to the president of Brazil's lower house, Rodrigo Maia / Luis Macedo/Chamber of Deputies

The Jair Bolsonaro administration’s pension reform bill finally got to Brazil’s Congress this Wednesday, Feb. 20, and already sparked outrage among several sectors of Brazilian society and the opposition.

Congresswoman and minority leader Jandira Feghali reiterated that the bill will face tough opposition. Her statements were made after president Bolsonaro and his team delivered the proposal to the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, and of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre, both members of the right-wing Democrats party.

“We will articulate political forces within Congress and with social movements [to fight the bill],” Feghali said, adding that her office will be a hub for entities from civil and pension experts to organize.

The 66-page bill, submitted as Proposed Constitutional Amendment (PEC) 6/2019, will now be reviewed by the Constitution and Justice Committee of the country’s lower house. If it passes it, the bill will be then submitted to a special panel, before hitting the floor.

One of the proposed changes is raising the retirement age for women from 60 to 62 years old, setting it at 65 years old for men, and establishing a minimum 20 years of contribution. For rural workers, the proposed retirement age is 60 years old for men and women.

Congresswoman Feghali said that, while she did not have enough time to carefully go through all the details of the bill, the new rules, if they are passed, tend to make it harder for workers to have access to a retirement plan. She pointed out the opposition will make sure to discuss the proposal thoroughly.

“President Jair Bolsonaro got elected without saying he would push for a pension reform. Actually, he didn’t talk about Brazil in his campaign,” the minority leader said. “We must tell society what the Brazilian social pension system means for the future and especially what this reform means, which is about not retiring  and favoring banks,” she added.

Government

The government claims that the proposed reform is necessary to “fight inequalities and privileges in the public and private sector” and save approximately R$1.1 trillion (roughly US$300 billion) over the course of one decade.

Edition: Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira | Translated by Aline Scátola