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Slovenian Parliament Passes Long-term Care Plan to Improve Welfare System

Parliament adopted legislation to create a long-term care system for the elderly and infirm on Tuesday, addressing one of the biggest failings in the country’s welfare system after more than two decades of failed attempts by successive governments.

The system, expected to initially cost about €1 billion per year, will be financed with a 1% contribution rate levied on gross salaries and net pensions from 1 July 2025.

Both employees and their employers will pay the fee, similar to how mandatory pension and health insurance contributions work, while sole proprietors and farmers pay a 2% contribution rate as they are both employers and employees.

The levy is expected to bring in more than €620 million, and the state will chip in €190 million, though some out-of-pocket payments will remain. Slovenia has no single long-term care system, and nursing homes or personal assistants currently provide most long-term care.

The new law aims to change that, allowing older people to stay at home as long as possible.

The legislation passed on 17 July will be implemented gradually. It will take effect on 1 January 2024, with new services being phased over the next two years.

While there is broad-based agreement on the need for a long-term care system, the decision to impose the special levy has been criticised by centre-right opposition parties, which have sided with business in decrying it as yet another way in which labour will be more expensive.

The opposition is also unhappy about private providers of services being more or less excluded from the system.

The ruling coalition defended this as the only way to provide a stable and systemic source of financing. It said a boost for the public network of long-term providers and better accessibility of services is the bill’s key asset.

Source : Euractiv