Netherlands to raise state retirement age
NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government has said it will raise the official retirement age from 65 to 67, unless social partners can come up with acceptable alternatives.
The rise will take effect as of 2011, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced this afternoon.
The unions and the lobbying organisations for employers have been granted a period of six months to come up with alternative measures which would generate the amount of €4bn needed for savings.
The planned increase of the official retirement age is part of a package of measures -agreed by the coalition parties during three weeks of crisis negotiations - to tackle the economic crisis and to maintain social coherence.
The governing parties had to renegotiate their two-year old coalition agreement, which focused on encouraging employees to keep working until 65 and lessen the financial impact of longevity.
FNV, the union, said it flatly opposes any increase of the AOW age, whereas union CNV has pleaded for an exemption for employees who have worked for at least 45 years.
"Raising the AOW age is the best way of economising for the long-term," said Bernard Wientjes, chairman of the large employers' representative body VNO-NCW.
That said, Wientjes made it clear his organisation is supporting the unions' demand for a closer look at alternative options.
In the past two years, both the Council of Economic Advisers (REA) as well as the Labour Participation Commission - an independent adviser to parliament as well as to social affairs' minister Piet Hein Donner - have recommended increasing the AOW age to 67 in 24 monthly steps.
However, the Actuarial Society (AG) recently argued a gradual rise of the AOW age is not necessary and even undesired, as transitional rules for the creation of additional pension schemes will make pensions much more complex, expensive and time-consuming.
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