There again! The early retirement pension.

It has taken a number of years, but now the Netherlands seems to be used to it. We need to continue working longer. In particular, the higher life expectancy and, consequently, the costs for AOW and retirement pension aroused the discussion with the result that the “holy” was released for 65 years. Now we are rapidly growing to a situation where 68 years (or even older) become the norm. Could it have been possible? Certainly, however, that would ultimately be at the expense of the amount of premiums and / or benefits and thus the purchasing power of workers and retirees.

In the 1980s (yes, it’s been so long ago), the VUT was introduced as an employment measure. Older people could earlier stop working to help young people on a job. A very sympathetic, but precious measure, which only partially caused the desired effects. What remained was the feeling of stopping working after 40 years of service or at age 60 years was a bit standard. Combined with a robust social system (wonderful WW or WAO schemes), this led to an average retirement age of less than 60 years.

Times change, and so our “social” system. WW and WAO disappeared as early retirement and VUT was converted to early retirement. Later, the early retirement pension was financially unattractive and impossible and the AOW age now even accelerated to 68 years and more. The result: the average retirement age increased in 10 years from less than 60 years to 64.5 years and he only grows higher. 
As the retirement age increases so rapidly, we also see that the side effects (often predicted otherwise) also make their entry. What are the effects on youth unemployment for example? And can we continue this physically and mentally all this? Some of the answers to these questions came to us through the Pension Fund Metal and Technology (PMT).

As mentioned, these effects were predicted and that context is not strange either. It was known (and know) that increasing the retirement age would require additional measures to enable people to actually stay longer. Contribute to sustainable employability, but the effects of effective policy (if any) leave for too long a long time. And in a number of situations, specific circumstances make it extra difficult. We see this mainly in the so-called ‘heavy’ professions. There is an average lower education level, a much longer working period and many more restrictions on education and (career) development.

The EIB (Economic Institute of Construction) came up with an equally creative and predictable idea last week: bring back the early retirement pension ! In itself a more than charming idea, but the good reader still discovered a few hooks and eyes. 
At the core of this (self-evident) goal setting is that people with severe occupations pay earlier (more?) AOW and pension premiums and lower life expectancy. On average, they have less benefits when they stop working, but pay more. Correct conversion could make an early retirement possible.

But is that reasoning correct? And what is the social social impact of this approach? In the case of the AOW, there is in any event a fundamental problem. That is no employee insurance, but a national insurance. An AOW for anyone, regardless of sex or employment, paid by the workers (a so-called cover system). By approaching different target groups differently, you set this basis for discussion. This can not be without consequences. In addition, it is only questionable whether more premium has been paid throughout the career as it is (income) dependent on income. Later start working, but at an average higher salary probably yields more payment of premium. 
For retirement and pension premiums, it is a little more nuanced, But you can leave the same reasoning on it. If people die on average a while, there is less retirement, but a pension fund therefore has more money left. If such a fund works with a cost-cutting premium, this results in a lower premium pressure. Road benefit seems to me.

Apart from the more fundamental objections, of course, it is also practical. To start with the definition of a ‘heavy occupation’. We know the standard examples of the streetmaker and the process operators in the 5-shift service, but do not get any occupation “heavy” if you get at any time issues that do not directly affect you in terms of health. Increasing pressure to provide care, the speed with which certain subjects develop and labor market uncertainty. 
In addition, it has been assumed that these employees in all cases start working young, and this work continues their entire career. However, the job mobility in the Netherlands is growing every year. Formerly 40 years for one boss might have been a real view, it’s not long before. And how do you deal with someone who has been “heavy” for 20 years? My conclusion: a generic reinstatement of early retirement is a completely unintended exercise.

But it does not matter that the problem is a serious problem. The aim should be to make everyone fit to his or her pension. Job satisfaction and the supply of added value must be taken into account. And if there’s a “kink” in the cable, you need to look for customized.

In my view, you can make the most of your work by making clever use of many instruments that already exist. In an individual case, it may consist of stopping work and returning a retirement pension. It may also consist of a smart work-off: no 8 or 10 hours a day but in steps of 4 to 6 hours, an extra day free of recuperation or someone else in the last phase to do other (less stressful) work. It is my conviction that a combination of measures will enable us to deliver customized work. Of course, you must always look for ways to organize the work differently and / or better to manage the tax.

Or maybe the retirement age down? That was indeed the other alternative, but that could not be without benefits on premiums and benefits and therefore purchasing power. Who knocks the knot?

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