Pension IT systems in overdrive in deadline run-up
PR dla Zagranicy
The IT systems of the Polish state pension fund could not handle the number of people deciding on their pension contributions on the very last day of applications, Thursday.
The meltdown comes as a large number of Poles used their final opportunity this year to decide that part of their pension contribution would go to a privately-owned open pension fund (OFE). This required sending a declaration to the state-managed Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
However, those who chose to send the declarations online or with the help of special machines were in for a bad surprise. The online ePUAP system, designed to help Poles handle official correspondence with authorities, broke down on Thursday. The ZUS website also went down amid the high traffic.
To make things worse, machines placed by ZUS in other governmental offices for the same purpose, also did not manage to handle Thursday’s crowd.
Radoslaw Milczarski from the head office of the pension institution told the Rzeczpospolita daily that this was largely because people did not strictly follow the instructions on the machines. Some of them tried to drop documents in envelopes there, and that’s not what the system is designed for, he said.
ZUS tried to stand up to the challenge and left its offices open for much longer hours than usual, until 6 p.m., or even 8 p.m. in some cases. Most of them normally close at 4 p.m.
However, it is likely that the largest number of declarations, possibly some 60 percent, was sent by post.
ZUS will be able to announce the final number of declarations sent after about five working days, when those sent by post are delivered.
After Thursday’s rush, estimates have been raised and it is now expected that some 2 million Poles have decided to leave some of their future pensions in the hands of private funds. (kw/jb)