Denmark must promote flexible retirement, government bodies urge
DENMARK - Labour market conditions should change in Denmark to promote flexible retirement and encourage more Danes to put off leaving the workforce, two government bodies have said.
According to figures from pensions industry association Forsikring & Pension, in 2009 less than 15% of Danes were working at 66, with just 11% still in work at the age of 67. Both the Welfare Commission and the Labour Market Commission said this situation had to change.
Torben Andersen, chairman of the Welfare Commission, said the country faced a huge demographic challenge as populous generations were replaced in the labour market by sparser ones.
"We haven't found the final answer yet, but there ought to be flexible solutions so that more people delay the pensioner's life," he said, in an F&P newsletter.
Jørgen Søndergaard, chairman of the Labour Market Commission and managing director of the National Research Centre for Welfare, said the retirement model had to be changed for the sake of both the social economy and the individual citizen.
"Today it is to a large degree self-employed and university people - people who have a lot of individual control and flexibility in their jobs - who retire above the official ages for retirement," Søndergaard said.
"We need to organise the labour market so many more people have this opportunity," he said.
Labour market pensions administrator Unipension said it was already possible under the terms of its pension product for members to phase their retirement by taking a partial pension.
"We expect to see a continued increase in the number of members on partial pension in the future," said Kenneth Petersen, head of membership at Unipension. "More and more members are showing an interest in the scheme, and our advisers are increasingly giving advice on the partial pension."
He also predicted there would be a more general interest in flexible retirement schemes in Denmark.
"We have recently seen other pension funds offering similar flexible products, presumably recognising that this is the direction members want to go," he said.