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(Dec 07, 2009) On November 21, 2009, thousands of Dutch workers held protests in four Dutch cities against the government's decision, announced in mid-October, to raise the state retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2025. In addition to labor organizations, opposition political parties reportedly oppose the new rules. (Dutch Workers Protest Pending Retirement Age Rise, AFP, Nov. 21, 2009, available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jIK95TbPS1TuMxKiTcBe_
wUp4dAA
.)

The decision, made public on October 16, 2009, is to increase the pensionable age to 66 in 2020 and to 67 five years later, in the face of an aging workforce and the need "to improve state finances and cope with a shortage of workers." The measure would save the state an estimated €4 billion (about US$2.65 billion) a year, and in the view of Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, "is an important step in the process of modernizing the retirement system." (Dutch Government to Raise Retirement Age to 67, REUTERS, Oct. 16, 2009, available at http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE59F3MY20091016.)

Under the new system, employees over 55 years of age as of January 1, 2010, will be eligible for a pension upon reaching age 65. Those with an employment history of at least 42 years will also still be able to retire at 65. Workers in general would still be eligible for retirement at 65, but on a reduced pension. There are special protections for those who engaged in long-term heavy manual labor, however; after 30 years of such work, such employees are to have their workload lightened by the employer. Should employers fail to meet this obligation, they will be subject to payment of a premium that enables the employee to collect a pension at age 65. (AFP, supra; Dutch Retirement Age to Raise to 67: New Guidelines Also Address Manual Labor Rules, RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE, Nov. 5, 20009, available at http://www.nfia.com/nieuws.html?id=581.)

It was pointed out that ["t]he new rules reflect a suggestion made in a recent Melbourne Mercer Pensions Index report. The report ranked the Netherlands' pension system first out of 11 reviewed countries, but recommended that the pension age be raised to reflect increasing life expectancy." (RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE, supra.) Among the countries that have recently made plans to increase the retirement age are the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Australia; the governments of Italy and Greece have limited their actions to making the retirement age for men and women equal, at age 65, by 2018, apparently a European Union legal requirement. (Andrew Sheen, Dutch Latest to Increase Retirement Age, RISK.NET, Oct. 16, 2009, available at http://www.risk.net/life-and-pensions/news/1558912/dutch-increase-retire
ment-age
.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Employee benefits More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Netherlands More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 12/07/2009