AUSTRIA - The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Boku) in Vienna has signed a contract with Pensionskassen provider Valida for its 1,000 employees.

For the first time, all professors, as well as academic and other assistants covered by the university's collective agreement, will receive a supplementary pension on retirement.

Several universities - including the University of Vienna, the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the Medical University of Vienna - have already signed with Valida Pension, which includes the Valida Pensionskasse (formerly ÖPAG).

Martin Gerzabek, principal at the Boku, said: "Despite the tight budgetary situation at the universities, we wanted to implement the framework made in the collective agreement and find an attractive retirement provision model for the Boku's employees."

In 2009, Austrian universities had finalised negotiations (started in 2003) on an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement including occupational retirement provision for all employees after a two-year vesting period.

Universities are obliged to pay 10% of new professors' monthly gross wages into the Pensionskasse. For all other new employees, the contribution rate is divided into a 3% share of all income below the maximum contribution rate as defined under the social insurance law (currently €4,200 gross salary) and 10% for all income above that.

Arrangements for professors and employees already working at the universities diverged slightly, but largely similar percentages were negotiated.

The collective agreement also anticipated the lowering of the interest rate, the Rechnungszins, used in Pensionskassen to 3%, which the financial supervisory authority FMA announced in February 2011.

No figures are available on how many of the more than 20 universities in Vienna have already chosen a Pensionskasse, as not all institutions want to be named as reference customers, and not all Pensionskassen are giving out names of their members.