Lawyers are at a crucial stage as the pandemic crisis is exacerbating problems that have already come from behind and that have persisted without a solution being implemented. This situation is notorious in terms of the social security system and support network that the class can (not) rely on. All of the other weaknesses in the Lawyers and Lawyers Pension Fund (CPAS) are very evident at the moment.
In fact, it is a question of the disproportionate amount of contributions that are not directly related to the stated income, but are structured in levels, the minimum amount of which is € 251.38, even for those who have no income. . And this payment, in addition to the contributions to the Portuguese Bar Association, is a mandatory cost of maintaining registration with the Bar Association, that is, so that the lawyers can continue to practice. As can be seen, the principle of contributory is removed from this equation, which is deeply unfair.
The working group’s most recent report, made up of elements given by the bar association, the order of lawyers and enforcement officers, and the CPAS itself, concluded what we have all taken for granted: the system is as it is not sustainable and violations occur. The pandemic, which was added to the existing ones, further exacerbated the Institute’s (in) financial balance. What solutions does CPAS have for those unable to pay contributions? This is the moment when everything is called into question.
CPAS, according to the same study, is sustained for another 15 years, but shows problems with the contributions. But what then? What happens to taxpayers and beneficiaries after the financial collapse of the system? This is a fundamental problem for thousands of beneficiaries and taxpayers, many of whom have not yet reached retirement age beyond that 15-year horizon.
Should we advocate the integration of CPAS into social security? Allow lawyers to choose between one system or the other? What happens to CPAS if a significant percentage of its taxpayers opt for Social Security? Will we still have lawyers – those in the company – who are required to contribute to both systems? Do we want to continue to contribute to a caixa that does not allow lawyers, for example, to have maternity leave with minimum sustainability requirements that are significantly lower than those offered by social security? These are basic questions that require reasoned answers that lawyers have not yet been offered so that when deciding on the future of their retirement plan – and we need to do this sooner – they can do so in an informed and conscious manner, knowing beforehand what are the consequences of choosing one way or the other?
We are faced with the opportunity to discuss our future, under the penalty of postponing that contributes to the worsening of the situation. Opening a serious and in-depth discussion will only be possible with a referendum where everyone is involved in finding the best solution for lawyers, attorneys and law enforcement officers, but with the guarantee that information will be available by the time it is completed we can all decide about consciousness. If this discussion doesn’t exist, others can decide for us!
There is a lack of sustained studies showing the benefits of following different paths, and what the management of CPAS has done in this area is apparently little
I am clearly in favor of freedom of choice, but we must not – we cannot – give up structured information before we do. The risk that we will make hasty decisions at such a complicated moment, under such unique circumstances that are not conducive to discrimination and common sense, is enormous. There will be an appointment to consult lawyers on what they want for the CPAS, but it should be set so that all interested parties can have useful information on what they will decide. There is a lack of sustained studies showing the benefits of following different paths, and what the management of CPAS has done in this area is apparently little.
Neither can we remove the focus from other fronts of the struggle: the struggle against the illegal law firm, which harms us in the sense that for lawyers and attorneys specific acts are carried out by those who are neither legally nor technically qualified, but This does harm ultimately, the citizens who are most vulnerable at fundamental moments in their lives, such as buying and selling a home. We must stand up to the fight against multidisciplinary societies, if we look at the example of Spain, where this practice has resulted in small offices and law firms becoming almost extinct in individual practice.
However, it is believed that the future of CPAS is most pressing as it is a structuring and we cannot escape the debate and decision on this process. We cannot make uninformed decisions and reduce positions to “guesswork”.