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EU warns Italy on discriminatory pension age again

The European Commission has issued on Thursday a new request to Italy to comply with a 2008 European Court of Justice ruling that different pensionable ages for male and female civil servants violate the principle of equal pay.

Italy introduced new rules to comply with the Court's judgement, which followed an infringement procedure brought by the Commission. But in the complementary letter of formal notice adopted yesterday, the Commission argues that the Italian measures – which would gradually equalise the pension age over a period of eight years – allow discriminatory treatment to continue.

Equal pay for women and men is enshrined in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In the context of occupational pensions, it means that pensionable ages have to be the same for women and men. The European Court of Justice has confirmed several times that civil servants' pensions must be considered as pay and as employer pension schemes.

On 13 November 2008, the Court ruled that Italy's civil servant pension scheme managed by INPDAP (national providence Institute for the Employees of Public Authorities) is discriminatory in that it applies different pensionable ages to women and men. This was the Commission’s view in the infringement procedure against Italy that started in 2005.

In June 2009, the Commission issued a letter of formal notice because Italy had not adopted any new legislation complying with the judgement. In its reply to the Commission, Italy communicated new provisions that would phase in an equal pensionable age for staff working in public service by 2018. Under the provisions, the retirement age for female employees would increase gradually and only be equalised at the same age as men – whose legal retirement age is fixed at 65 – in 2018.

In the Commission's view, and according to EU case law, this transitional measure continues to apply discriminatory treatment and is therefore inadequate. The Commission has therefore decided to issue an additional letter of formal notice to Italy under Art 260(1) TFEU asking the Italian authorities to comply with the judgement.

Further information on EU gender equality legislation

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