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Italians in Limbo, or Hell

A word is cropping up in Italy’s news with remarkable regularity at the moment.  That Italian word is “esodati“.

The word esodati, which has no direct translation, is being used to refer to the number of Italians who retired during a kind of twilight period created by pension system reforms.  As a consequence of the reform up to 350,000 Italians may have found themselves with neither salary nor pension.

Limbo, or Hell

Technically, these people have retired, and under former legislation they were entitled to do so.  However a bungle on the part of legislators means that the retirees are no longer officially retirees which means no pension payments.  The problem for these people is that they are no longer employees either, so no salary and no pension.  Not good if you happen to be one of the unfortunate Italians who find themselves in a kind of limbo, if not hell.

Uncertain Estimates

Official government estimates, which Italy’s pensions organization admits are difficult to calculate, put the number of individuals in zero salary and zero pension limbo at around 65,000.  Just why Italy’s pensions body is unable to calculate the exact number is something of a mystery.  One would imagine with all the bureaucracy with which Italy is blessed, the authorities would have more than enough data to carry out the requisite number crunching.  Such is Italy.

Anyway, the Italian government line is that the problem is not as great as others, such as Italy’s unions, who say the number of esodati is around 130,000, claim.

The issue of the esodati is being examined by Italy’s parliament.  In the meantime certain people in Italy find themselves in a kind of perverse limbo and will be potentially without any form of income for around 5 or 6 years, after which time the Italian state will officially recognize them as pensioners and pay them something, maybe.  Some of those affected agreed to early retirement packages and expected pensions which they have not received.

Arguments over the exact number of Italians affected by the mess up continue to rage and estimates, as you may have noticed, vary wildly – 65,000, 130,000 or maybe 350,000 – but a solution has yet to found.

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The implications of the esodati issue for Italy’s public finances may cause a headaches for government accountants who are probably not too sure how much extra in pensions payments the government will have to fork out and when.

Who Messed Up?

Who is to blame for this monumental confusion?  Italy’s unions are saying the head of Italy’s INPS pensions body is the guilty party and are calling for the gentleman to go.

Meanwhile, certain Italians will be having problems making ends meet.  In view of the state of Italy’s economy and employment market, finding another job to tide these people over for the next 5 years or so is not really an option.

Poor, in every sense of the word, esodati.

From what I’ve heard, Italian companies are having no problems finding industrious interns who are prepared to work twelve hours a day for nothing but the vague hope of being offered a full time, fully paid job, which won’t happen.

What a mess and right slap bang in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis which does not appear to be ending.

Italy’s government says it is working to resolve the problem.

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