GERMANY- The German chemical group Henkel has decided to make the new Chemical sector Pensionsfond available to its German workforce, says the group’s benefits manager Wolfgang Lorz, based at headquarters in Dusseldorf.

“We believe we are the first, or among the first of the major chemical employers to make this move,” he adds. Altogether around 15,000 employees could be eligible to join the new scheme.

“We have just started the enrolment period, which will continue until July, but we have no way of telling how many will decide to do so,” says Lorz. The employees have been offered the opportunity to contribute to the new sector fund, which is the first of the new Pensionsfonds to obtain the official go-ahead.

The decision to join the scheme was the requirement to meet the Riester reforms. “We discussed what might be the best way for the company, and at the same time what would be efficient for the employees.”

Compared with the choices of direct insurance or a Pensionskasse, with all its supervisory requirements, Henkel made the decision to go for the new multi-employer arrangement. The company has had a Pensionskassen in the past, which has been closed and had been providing pensions on a book reserve basis, Lorz explains.

The book reserve will continue as before as the new Pensionsfond is only for employee contributions.