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The Netherlands — Pension age increase agreed

19 October 2009

After endless consultation with unions and employer organisations, Ministers have now agreed that the state pension age in The Netherlands will go up from 65 to 66 years of age in 2020 and then again to 67 years of age in 2026, Dutch News reports. People will still be able to retire at 65 in return for a lower pension.

Ministers have also agreed to amend Dutch health and safety legislation in order to soften the blow for people who carry out heavy duty work. Employers will have to find such people alternative tasks after 30 years. However, the concept of heavy duty work is not yet clearly defined.

The decision ends months of debate about how to increase the state and corporate pension age. Ministers say the move is necessary to offset the greying of the population and cut the budget deficit by some 4 billion Euro per year.
The state pension age of 65 was introduced in 1957 when people were expected to live into their early 70s.

According to figures released by the national statistics office CBS, only 18% of women and 38% of men who are aged 60 to 65 have a job. Many have taken advantage of early retirement schemes, introduced in the 1980s to combat high youth unemployment.

Socialist party leader Agnes Kant described the planned changes as "pension theft" while the Liberal VVD party said it was "too little, too late and too complicated."

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV was even reported by Volkskrant as saying the decision was shameful. "We want to keep the status quo and we can do that if we stop immigration from Muslim countries," Wilders said.

The plans must now be incorporated into draft legislation and voted on by MPs before it becomes law.



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