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LD to manage new DKK80bn fund under holiday law plan

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Denmark’s Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond (LD) is to manage a new DKK80bn (€10.7bn) fund to hold a year’s worth of frozen holiday entitlements on behalf of all Danish employees, according to a proposal from a government committee.

Under the proposal from the Holiday Law Committee (Ferielovsudvalget) published yesterday, LD would manage the entitlements in the form of loans to employers, as well as funds transferred from employers, until the resources are given back to employees on retirement.

The panel also proposed that ATP, Denmark’s largest pension fund – which also carries out many benefits-related administrative tasks on behalf of the government – should provide technical assistance to LD on the administration of the frozen holiday entitlements.

LD said total assets in the new fund would be between DKK80bn and DKK85bn. Should this materialise, LD will become one of the top 10 biggest pension funds in Denmark and one of the top 100 in Europe, according to IPE data collected for the forthcoming Top 1000 Pension Funds report to be published in September.

The actual amount of funds transferred to LD from companies could amount to DKK25bn, the committee estimated. This alone would increase the assets currently managed by LD by more than 50%.

LD – which manages a non-contributory scheme based on cost-of-living allowances that were granted to Danish employees decades ago – had total assets under management of DKK42.8bn at the end of 2016.

The frozen holiday fund money is set to be paid out by Danish employers as a result of a proposed change in the law.

After an EU Commission decision that Danish rules on delayed holiday rights were against EU law, the Danish government commission was established in 2015 to come up with a new law taking this into account.

Under EU law, all employees must have the right to four weeks’ paid holiday a year. Under Denmark’s current system, however, employees start accruing their right to paid holiday as much as 16 months before they can actually take any of it.

When the new proposed law comes into force in 2020, staff will be able to take some holiday from their first month of employment.

This means people already in the system could have up to an extra 12 months’ worth of holiday entitlement when the change takes place.

Because the committee considered it not economically viable for all workers to take extra holiday in that year, their proposal involved freezing this allowance and putting it into an invested fund until retirement. This would ensure the resources keep pace with inflation and generate extra returns.

The committee proposed allowing employers to owe the new fund these outstanding holiday entitlements until the fund was ready to make payouts to employees, in order to ease companies’ liquidity situation.

Many employers were likely to take advantage of the opportunity to ‘borrow’ money in the holiday fund for a number of years, according to LD. Employers would also be able to deposit the entire amount into the new fund at any time to rid themselves of the debt item.

The pension fund said the committee’s estimate that about DKK25bn will be transferred to LD’s investment – with the rest remaining at employers for a shorter or longer period – was very uncertain.

“The capital management of the holiday fund will take place in the same set-up as the management of the LD funds,” LD said.

“However, the fund management of the holiday fund will consist of two parts – partly loans from employers and partly frozen holiday funds which will be transferred to the LD assets.”

The fund added that its investment management structure was flexible and the new assets would fit easily into its existing investment funds structure.

“Joint investment with the LD scheme ensures low costs and access to qualified investment advisers from day one in all key areas,” it said.

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