NETHERLANDS - The Dutch minister for social affairs, Piet Hein Donner, is drafting a white paper to promote a part-time pension for employees aged 65 and above.

Bea Versteeg, spokeswoman for the minister, told IPE: "The minister will present a notice in April on labour participation of the elderly; this will have two parts, one focusing on participation until 65, and the second on participation from 65."

In the paper, he will suggest ways to better facilitate gradual retirement, so workers will be able to continue working part-time beyond the age of 65.

"There will be no changes to the AOW state pension, as taking a part-time pension would be completely voluntary," said Versteeg.

She denied this latest proposal would create new problems from a European perspective elsewhere, following a claim last year by Félix Palacios de la Villa against his employer, clothing company Cortefiel Servicios SA, he was forced to retire at 65.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected his claim the default retirement age of 65 constituted age discrimination.

Versteeg: "The verdict does not have any consequences for us, you have to see that in the context of [laws in] Spain."

The Dutch CNV union commented today a part-time pension after 65 will "miss its effect", as workers, on average, retire at 61.

CNV has pleaded for the possibility of opting for part-time work before the age of 65, "so that there is a gradual transition from the working life to retirement."

Elsewhere, Axa has published a UK study today, arguing one in five employees are pressured to retire by their employers when they hit State retirement age, while nearly half of Brits retire before the minimum legal requirement.

"Employers could face £45m collective compensation bill for age-related discrimination claims," said the firm.

Axa has found despite the introduction of age discrimination legislation two years ago, so-called ageism is still rife in the workplace, as a number of employees feel under pressure by the employer to quit their jobs.

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