Residents of Jersey will have to work until they are 67 after the States approved recently controversial plans to raise the pension age.

Following a day-long debate, members of the

island's parliament finally passed the plans by 32 votes to 16 with two abstentions.

Under the new system, the current States pension age of 65 will increase by two months every year between 2020 and 2031, meaning that anyone currently aged 47 and below will not receive a States pension until they are 67.

Those currently aged between 47 and 57 will be eligible between the ages of 65 and 67. Those aged over 57 will not be affected by the changes.

The changes will also affect women, whose pension ages will have risen from 60 to 65 by 2020. However, women who began contributing to the social security scheme before 1 January 1975 will still be able to retire at 60.

Many members of the States said that whilst they supported the plans in theory, the proposal, which was only lodged just seven weeks ago, was being rushed through. Others criticised the apparent lack of public consultation.

Other politicians warned that many islanders, especially those in manual jobs, would simply not be able to carry on working for another two years and that the States would end up paying more to cover sick leave during those two years.

And some members voiced concerns that without a discrimination law, older workers would find it difficult to keep or find jobs during the two-year period.

But Social Security Minister Ian Gorst, who brought the proposition to the assembly, said that increasing the States pension age was essential to plug a potential black hole in the Social Security Fund. He said that an ageing population would lead to more pensions being paid out, with fewer people paying into the fund.

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