BELGIUM - The number of Belgian employees with employment-related savings has surpassed two million.
According to the ministry of economic affairs, in 1993 200,600 people were subscribed to either a pension fund (192,600) or to a collective insurance (8,000). However, in 2005 these figures had increased to 2,011,300, of which pension funds held 322,650 subscribers, while the collective insurance had increased to 1,688,650.
The latter figures were provided to parliament by minister for economic affairs, Marc Verwilghen following accusations that Belgian women are undervalued.
Verwilghen reported that in 1993 28% of all contracts were taken by women, which increased to 32-33% in 1999, and has stabilised since than. According to MP Annemie Turtelboom, however, the figures prove that women are still behind in all pension pillars.
Turtelboom's own research reveals that men are over-represented in the third pillar, which are individual pension arrangements via insurers. According to research, 66% of all contracts (1.66 million contracts) are held by men. For the first pillar, the picture is similar for Turtelboom because men have full-time jobs for a longer period of time than women in general.
The Belgian parliament is currently assessing the option of pension-splitting. This gives a partner currently working full-time the option to put part of the pension rights in the hands of the other partner, if the latter is working part-time.