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Dutch ministry calls for retroactive billing of employers for contributions

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Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for the Dutch Ministry for Social Affairs, has indicated she supports the industry-wide pension fund for temporary workers (StiPP) in chasing employers to pay contributions for all workers under mandatory pension arrangements.

Fielding questions from Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt, she said the pension fund ran the risk that employees with unpaid employer’s contributions would still be entitled to a pension.

Klijnsma argued this would come at the expense of the pension rights of the other participants.

Omtzigt had asked her to look into the StiPP case, after she had given her opinion about Shell concluding a new pension plan without the approval of its workers council, as well as on the way the €50bn metal scheme PMT set up the elections for pensioners on its board.

According to the MP, there is an intensive debate within the temporary workers sector about the sphere of action of the mandatory pension fund, caused by an “inflexible approach and the scheme stretching its scope to the maximum”.

“The pension fund is sending out many retrospective charges and does not hesitate taking legal action,” Omtzigt said.

However, in the opinion of the state secretary, StiPP sticks to the rules.

She pointed out that employers that reject mandatory affiliation with the pension fund could ask the court to look into individual cases.

In 2013, a local court in Amsterdam ruled that Care4Care, an employment agency for temporary care workers, was not subject to mandatory participation with StiPP.

One of the arguments was that workers “are subject to the same rules that apply to consultants or people who are temporarily employed to implement certain practices or protocols, or to implement changes or change ingrained behaviour”.

Last April, the corporate appeal college turned down another exemption request, as the employer involved could not prove that his own pension plan would deliver at least the same result as the StiPP scheme.

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