Judges Seek Early Retirement Benefits

Judges are seeking to have the Knesset supplement pension payments to allow some of them to retire at age 60. The rule change would cost the state NIS 4.8 million per judge. It would apply to judges hired from 1999, when the state switched from offering state-supported pensions to having judges pay into their own pension plans, who accumulate 15 years' seniority and retire at age 60.

TheMarker obtained this week a letter sent two weeks ago by judges representatives to former Finance Ministry capital markets director Eyal Ben Chelouche and to Dorit Tene-Perchik, head of the Histadrut labor federation's pension division, asking them to advocate their case before the Knesset subcommittee on judges' conditions. The subcommittee is part of the Knesset Finance Committee. Ben Chelouche spearheaded pension reforms within the treasury. Knesset officials claim the proposal he submitted to the Knesset last week, which leans towards the judges' position, would violate current civil service pension policy.

The current retirement age for judges is 70. Judges receiving state supported pensions can retire at 55 and still receive a full monthly pension payment, but those who fall under the new arrangements are not entitled to monthly pension payments before age 67. The judges are seeking a state-supported stipend of NIS 4,500 per month to bridge the gap between 60 and 67 should they choose to retire at 60.

Treasury officials familiar with the situation fear that accepting the judges' demands would signal a retreat from the pension reforms implemented in 1999. They also fear that if they give in to the judges' demands, other civil service sectors may demand similar benefits, including MKs, whose salary raises are linked to those of judges, and teachers.