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Sweden’s pensions group agrees gender equality plan

A Swedish parliamentary group is seeking to address the huge difference between the pension men and women receive in retirement.

The group — Pensionsgruppen — has published an action plan to equalise pensions between men and women, including the introduction of a simplified application process for the transfer of premium pension rights between spouses and registered partners.

Annika Strandhäll, Sweden’s minister for social insurance, said: “We know that many pensioners have a hard time and 80% of those with a guaranteed pension are women.”

The guaranteed pension is part of the Swedish state pension and provides basic protection for those who had little or no earnings during their working lives.

Strandhäll said an important part of the ongoing work was therefore to see  — as a matter of urgency — how the basic protection of the pension system could be strengthened.

“There has been no comprehensive review of the basic protection offered in the pension system since the system was introduced almost 20 years ago, and it is high time that one was undertaken,” she said.

The group said that pensions reflected income earned during a working life, and although Sweden was a relatively equal country, the lifetime earnings gap between the sexes meant that womens’ pensions were on average 30% lower than those of men.

This was the prompt for the working group on pensions — which consists of representatives from six political parties — to tackle the issue of gender equality, the group said.

Back in June, the group presented a big compilation of knowledge in the field, and the action plan was a continuation of that work, it said.

As well as calling for a simplification of the transfer process for premium pension rights between partners, the group’s action plan also calls for a review of the basic protection in the pension system.

“Because the pension is affected by global factors around it, the group will continue by monitoring developments in society such as the development of part-time employment for women and men, labour-market equality, the design of parental insurance, and occupational pensions,” it said.

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