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Wednesday 18 September 2019

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Pensions agreement a welcome first step towards reform, Dutch industry says

Written by Sunniva Kolostyak
12/06/2019

The agreement reached between the Dutch government and social partners is a welcome first step in reforming the pension system, the industry has responded.

With the agreement, the state pension age will rise more gradually, earlier retirement will be possible for those in demanding jobs, workers will receive adequate pensions, there will not be any reductions if the coverage ratio is above 100 per cent and the average premium system will be terminated.

A new collective pension contract will also be introduced, with more options for participants, and dependents’ pension will be revised based on the advice of the Dutch Labour Foundation (STAR).

Pensions asset manager APG said that there still is a lot of details that need to be finalised, but that the agreement is a good first step.

APG chairman Gerard van Olphen said that in the end, the only relevant question is how the agreement affects the participants.

“Viewed from that perspective, the picture is concrete and positive for pensionable age and arduous occupations. The fact that pension savings will continue to be based on a collective approach is also in the interest of the participants, because this will ultimately result in a higher pension. But it is still too early to assess the effects of the new contract and how well-balanced the transition will be.”

Pension fund ABP chairman Corien Wortmann-Kool said: “Our participants benefit from a new pension contract that fits better with the times. A pension contract that can be more personal.”

“The most important points of attention in further work are correct calculation rules appropriate to the nature of the new contract, the design of the transition to a different system and the required fiscal scope. ABP is happy to use its experience and expertise on all these points.”

Metal funds PMT and PME also welcomed the agreement, and that pension reduction chances are lower. In a statement, they said: “PMT and PME have been urging the cabinet and social partners for a long time to conclude a new pension agreement. We are therefore pleased that an agreement in principle has been reached.”

bpfBOUW chairman Mieke van Veldhuizen noted that the agreement brings more clarity for participants, after years of uncertainty.

“Although bpfBOUW is also in relatively good shape in the current system, it is positive that indexation will become faster in the future. BpfBOUW also thinks it is good that the agreement in principle pays attention to the pension situation of self-employed persons without employees. BpfBOUW would like to see freelancers in the construction industry automatically participate in our pension scheme, whereby they are entitled to refuse,” van Veldhuizen said.

The trade unions FNV and the CNV will now present the pension agreement to its members, who can vote until Saturday 15 June. If the agreement is accepted, the agreement will be developed further.



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