The European Commission has launched a formal public consultation paper aimed at improving the portability of supplementary pension rights. It hopes to tackle existing pensions legislation that hinders the free movement of workers.
The Commission’s decision to consult EU employers and unions is the first step towards helping workers who are forced to change scheme when they move jobs, either within or between member states.
The consultation paper analyses three regulatory aspects of supplementary schemes- the acquisition and preservation of pension rights, their transferability and the ability of scheme members to remain in the same fund while moving to a job in another member state.
EU employment and social affairs commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou says: “The loss of pension rights hampers workers’ right to free movement around the EU and is an obstacle to labour mobility and the creation of jobs. Only an EU-wide solution can address this problem.
“Agreements such as the recent political consensus allowing EU-wide pension funds are important but they tend to mask the serious problems which individual workers will still face when they are forced to change from one company pension scheme to another, even within their own member state.
“We must therefore consider carefully what must be done about the conditions of acquisition, preservation and transferability of supplementary pension rights throughout the EU.”
Social partners will be asked for their views on various topics including:
o the need for EU action on the portability of pension rights,
o the form such action should take (collective agreement, directive, recommendation, code of practice, guidelines)
o the main features of such a measure and the types of schemes covered.