GERMANY - Making occupational pension provision compulsory would help ease fears over poverty at retirement, an increasing number of Germans agree.

According to the most recent poll conducted by German bank Postbank, 43% of those questioned think it would be a good idea to make the second-pillar compulsory in Germany while 31% were against it.

In a similar poll at the beginning of the year, only 34% said they were in favour of this measure while 54% were against it. That said, at the time over 60% wanted to make occupational pension provision compulsory for new entrants to the job market.

Despite good economic growth, the number of Germans fearing they will have too small a pension on retirement has remained steady over the last years at around 16% of people surveyed, the Postbank also noted in its announcement of the latest study.

"Fears of old-age poverty have not subsided in the least and even have grown in Eastern Germany," explained Postbank chief executive Wolfgang Klein.

He has urged the government to act on plans to pay parts of employee's profit sharing in a company into a pension scheme, in order to boost occupational pension provision.

The government has suggested it will introduce profit-sharing as part of the salary for all employees. Only some companies currently offer profit-sharing as part of their remuneration.

"This is an ideal chance to improve the pension benefit situation in Germany for the long term, using the positive economic development," Klein added.

The poll shows 59% even voted in favour of putting the whole amount received through profit-sharing into a pension scheme, while just 24% were against this suggestion.

A debate about the usefulness of a mandatory second-pillar is currently also
being led in neighbouring Austria. (See related IPE article: Too early for mandatory second pillar - PAG).

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