Brazil Mulls Minimum Retirement Age of 65 for Men and Women

Brazil’s government has opened discussions with congressional leaders, state governors and mayors on a pension reform bill that would set the minimum retirement age for men and women at 65, a government official said on Monday.

The proposal is one of several under consideration, as President Jair Bolsonaro looks to get the legislative ball rolling on his ambitious plans to overhaul Brazil’s creaking social security system.

Currently, if workers have contributed into the system for at least 15 years, the earliest men can retire is 65 and for women it is 60. But men can retire at any age if they have paid into the system for at least 35 years, and women if they have contributed for 30 years.

Speaking to reporters outside the Economy Ministry in Brasilia, Rogerio Marinho, secretary of social security and labor at the ministry, confirmed talks were underway on the proposal to change that.

Part of the proposal, which was originally reported by O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, stipulates that workers must pay into the system for a minimum of 20 years.

“Until a draft has been finalized, Bolsonaro cannot confirm anything on social security,” Bolsonaro’s spokesman Otavio Rego Barros said on Monday.

Bolsonaro has put overhauling social security at the top of his agenda. Depending on the final proposals, it could save up to 1.3 trillion reais ($354 billion) over the next decade, economy ministry sources reckon.

Investors have pinned much of their optimistic outlook for Brazil this year on Bolsonaro delivering on pension reform. The elections of Bolsonaro allies as house and senate presidents last week were seen as a step in that direction.

The Bovespa stock market hit a record high on Monday above 98,500 points, and the real has risen around 7 percent against the dollar in the last six weeks.

($1 = 3.6707 reais)

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