Early Retirement Systems For Asbestos Victims In Europe

Early Retirement Systems For Asbestos Victims In Europe

Among various systems of compensation for asbestos exposure victims there is an early retirement system adopted in France and Italy. This system deals with people who got mesothelioma diagnosis or other physical injuries as a result of contact with asbestos. In Italy this system came in force in 1992 when the use of asbestos was banned all over the country. It implied early retirement for workers exposed to asbestos at workplaces. People who have paid retirement insurance contributions for 30 years minimum and can prove the fact of being exposed to asbestos during 10 or more years (at work).

The investigations regarding the second requirement are performed individually for each case by the Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro (National Institute of Insurance for Occupational Incidents). As a result a qualified person will get bonus payments for every year of being exposed to asbestos. The number of years was multiplied by 1.5, but in 2003 this factor was reduced to 1.25. And since then the increase factor is applied for the retirement pension payment, and now there is no ability to get early retirement at asbestos-related work.

The Italian early retirement system is often modified. The recent change touched the intensity of exposure during a 10-year period. This parameter is now strictly specified. Now the claimant needs to provide a proof of being exposed to 100 fibers per litre of air during 8-hours workday for 10 years or more. This step was met negatively, as it is practically impossible to provide such a proof due to the absence of proper records describing work environment with such details.

The number of claims grows significantly from year to year, and in total there are more than 600,000 claims filed in Italy. About 150,000 were certified by the Institute, and more than a half of claims still wait for the result.

French early retirement system has been operating since 1999. The workers who contacted with asbestos and got mesothelioma diagnosis or other occupational diseases are qualified for early retirement. In order to qualify for early retirement, a person needs to fit for a few conditions. First of all the fact of occupational disease development should be documentary approved. These are mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques or benign tumor in lungs. This list is for people who worked with or manufactured asbestos related products, or provided services that involved using asbestos. So the second requirement is occupation with the use of asbestos. And the last one is the age. A person must be at least 50 years old. The age when an asbestos victim can retire depends on the duration of asbestos exposure and its intensity. So, in each case it is defined individually.

The fund for paying additions for asbestos exposure is provided by the insurance companies responsible for compensating occupational injuries, as well as by the state. In France more than 33,000 claims for asbestos exposure were filed, and more than 27,000 of them were compensated.

Such systems are highly criticized due to problems of recognizing qualifying cases, funding and order of considering each claim. However, it helps to keep responsible companies secured from bankruptcy.

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