EUROPE - The European Parliament's employment committee (EMPL) has voted on EU's pension portability directive and the matter is scheduled to be out to a plenary vote on May 22.

The EMPL approved most of the amendments of the commission's original draft proposed by the economic committee last month.

If approved by the plenary vote of the European Parliament the portability directive will be applicable to all work-related pension, schemes both funded and unfunded.

But pension rights existing before the directive comes into force - no later than 1 July 2008 - will be excluded as will self-employed workers.

Both committees removed references to member states being obliged to ensure portability of pension rights.

However, member states must ensure the fair treatment of dormant pension rights and gradually improve their transferability.

The EMPL also introduced a maximum vesting period of five years after which an employee will have acquired supplementary pension rights.

In her original amendments Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten, rapporteur on the Commission's draft, stressed that the directive does not oblige member states to introduce supplementary pension schemes.

She added: "Account must be taken of the characteristics and special nature of supplementary pension schemes and the way they differ within and between the member states".

The EMPL called on the Commission to draw up a report containing proposals for amendments of the directive no later than five years after its implementation. The economic committee had called for a report after only two years.