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Employers Obliged to Pay into Pension Fund Regardless of Constitutional Court Ruling: Minister

Armenia's National Assembly today discussed a draft of amendments to the Labour Code; however, the discussion soon turned into a debate about the pension system, especially the recent reforms.

Armenian National Congress (HAK) MP Nikol Pashinyan, addressing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) MP Hakob Hakobyan and RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Artem Asatryan, asked whether after the Constitutional Court suspended some articles of the reforms employers will be fined if they don't pay the mandatory component. Hakobyan said the Constitutional Court suspended only Article 76 and Section 3 of Article 86 of the new Law on Funded Pensions; that is, other instances of violations of the law will be treated as violations. 

Not having received a clear answer, Pashinyan repeated his question twice more: "If an employer doesn't pay into the pension fund, won't he be fined? Can an employee tell his employer there's a Constitutional Court ruling, give me my entire salary? Or, in this case will the employer be fined?" he asked again. 

"Employers have obligations — to make payments. If some articles are suspended, that doesn't mean that employers have to condition their payments with penalties," Asatryan replied. 

The lack of a clear answer also angered MP Hrant Bagratyan, who said: "You want to increase the tax, but you don't answer a single question. This project is questionable. Gradually it's becoming clear that it has nothing to do with reforms."

Heritage Party MP Ruben Hakobyan asked the same question differently. He asked whether an employee, not receiving his full pay, can go to court and have the money paid by his employer returned. Asatryan said that with the Constitutional Court ruling, only employees are exempt from sanctions, while employers' obligations remain in force.

"What happens if an employee takes the matter to court I cannot say," said the minister.

Recall, according to media reports, the State Revenue Committee has found a way to sidestep the Constitutional Court's ruling.