4 lawmakers attempt to boost their teachers’ pensions by calculating them based on higher Assembly salaries

June 24, 2014
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Costa Rica’s High School Teachers’ Association (APSE) on Wednesday said that four lawmakers, who previously worked as educators, filed applications to increase their pensions by taking into account their salaries as legislators rather than wages they earned as teachers.

The request was made by Justo Orozco of the Costa Rican Renovation Party, Marta Julia Fonseca of the National Liberation Party and Libertarian Movement Party legislators Ernesto Chavarría and Adonay Enríquez.

“This is clearly a case of double standards, where on the one hand, they were part of a group of lawmakers denouncing high pensions in the public sector, but now are seeking to increase their own pensions,” said APSE President Ana Doris González at a press conference.

On Feb. 27, the lawmakers submitted a note to the board of directors of the National Teachers’ Pension Fund (JUPEMA) asking for a reclassification of their current monthly pensions, González said.

The request also called for an amendment of teachers’ pension regulations that currently forbid the inclusion of income earned outside of teaching in calculating pensions.

“This clearly is aimed at including their legislators’ salaries in the calculation,” González added.

JUPEMA spokesman Ramón Alfonso Soto said the board of directors will review the lawmakers’ request on April 24.

“These lawmakers previously had made similar requests, but all of them were denied,” Soto told The Tico Times.

Legislators Orozco and Enríquez told the daily La Nación that their request was not illegal, and that it is a workers’ right to request a review of their approved pensions. Both went to the Assembly’s doctor on Wednesday morning and Orozco took a sick day shortly after.

The same four lawmakers in 2011 were denied a petition to continue collecting their pensions along with their monthly wages as legislators.

Lawmakers’ current monthly salaries total ₡3.6 million ($6,780) after an automatic increase of ₡171,000 ($320) was approved last November.  The next automatic hike in May will raise salaries for incoming legislators to ₡3.7 million ($6,980) per month.

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