NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government has started a consultation process on removing legal obstacles for people who prefer to keep on working after the present retirement age of 65.

The cabinet will ask for the opinion of organisations like the Labour Foundation, the Social and Economic Council, the Centre for Labour relations and organisations of the elderly on issues like age-dependent remuneration, and the acceptance of a lower function in order to keep on working.

The government also would like to know the organisations’ view on stimulus – e.g. part-time pension from 65 - to encourage people to work longer.

“The reasons for the request for advice are the rising life expectancy and the desire of a growing number of elderly for staying active within society”, the cabinet said. “Some of the elderly want to keep on working for financial reasons, for example because they haven’t built-up rights to a full state pension.”

A legal widening for working beyond 65, shouldn’t be at the expense of people who doesn’t want to use this opportunity, the cabinet stressed. “They will keep their social protection.”

At present many Collective Labour Agreements, or CAO’s, between employers and employees prohibit working after the retirement age of 65.

Last week the chairman of the Dutch liberal democrats – the third party within the government, proposed raising the pension age from 65 to 67 within 25 years. The largest government party, the Christian democrats, who lost the elections in 1994 when they had a similar proposal in the election manifesto, have already stated that they don’t see the need for a renewed discussion.

In April, chairman Nout Wellink of the Dutch central bank and pensions regulator, the DNB, said the Dutch society should start discussing a rise of the pension age to 67.