European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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2 August 2017

Italy: early retirement program applied above expectations

Italy has been confronted with a run on a new early retirement program. The so-called APE program (‘Anticipo finanziario a garanzia pensionistica’) came into force in June 2017. The scheme aims at facilitating early retirement and increasing lower pension incomes. APE provides two different options for an early retirement. Shortly after the introduction more people applied than was forecasted for the whole of 2017.

The pension and social security agency INPS received 66,409 applications for the new APE program, a scheme that gives unemployed and disadvantaged workers the possibility to anticipate their retirement with a maximum of three years and seven months. The program includes a special benefit for people in hardship aged 63 years or more, the ‘APE sociale’. Certain categories of disadvantaged workers, with at least 30 years of paid contributions, can retire earlier (up to 3 years and 7 months before the standard pensionable age) with a monthly allowance of maximum 1,500 euro. The APE also provides workers aged 63 and above with the possibility to retire earlier, via a special loan scheme covering missing contributions. The loan has to be repaid through monthly instalments over a 20-year period. The initiative that has the character of a trial should have a positive effect on the entrance of young workers on the labour market. The 2017 budget for the program amounts 300 million euro. The pension agency INPS has to assess the applications and, in case of insufficient resources, come up with a ranking that gives priority to workers that are close to retirement. Trade union confederation CGIL published a manual with the different early retirement alternatives.

As the program was opened for demands in mid-July 2017, the prognosis were 60,000 applicants for the year 2017. According to the Labour Ministry's estimates, the program would affect 35,000 for the ‘APE sociale’ and 25,000 for the early retirement in 2017. The program was published in the Official Journal on 17 June 2017 and the deadline for applications was 15 July 2017. Within this deadline, there were 39,777 applicants for the ‘APE sociale’ and 26,632 requests for an early retirement through the loan system.

For 2018, it is calculated that 45,000 applicants will have the necessary requirements to retire (20,000 through the ‘APE sociale’ and 25,000 through the early retirement). Those who meet the requirements in 2018 will have to apply by 31 March 2018. Applications that are submitted beyond the given deadlines are only considered if the necessary financial resources are available. From 1 January 2018 on, the statutory pension age will be standardised to 66 year and 7 months for both men and women.

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