> NEW PENSION RULES
The new pension system
Here's how it works
New rules for pensions are on the way: 'the new pension system'. The authorities have given everything the green light. The unions, the employers, and of course the pension funds, can now proceed to define the precise details of the new rules.
‘Good to know: a lot will remain the same’
In December 2022, the Dutch House of Representative approved the Future of Pensions Act (Wtp), and in spring 2023 the Senate did so too. This means that the new act, which establishes the new pension system, came into force on 1 July 2023. The unions, employers, and pension funds have until 1 January 2028 at the latest to adapt the pension arrangements to comply with the new legislation, although they can also do so sooner. That date may sound a long way off, but making the changes takes a lot of time. That's why the social partners – i.e. the representatives of the employers and employees – are already engaged in negotiations behind the scenes. Bpf Koopvaardij is also hard at work. (More about that shortly.) But let's go back to the beginning: why is a new pension system needed? Here's why. The previous rules worked well for years, but now they’re no longer appropriate, for example because people no longer stay with the same employer for their entire working life. We’re also getting older, which means we enjoy our retirement for longer. And then there's the matter of increasing our pensions. Although the economy has been doing well in recent years, pensions could often not increase along with it. That feels unfair. It won’t all change The new legislation means there’ll be changes. For instance, there'll soon no longer be one big money pot from which everyone gets paid a pension. Instead, everyone will soon have their own individual pension pot, whether they’re active members, former members, or pensioners. Pensions will also become more flexible: they’ll go up faster when the economy is doing well. The reverse is also possible: they’ll go down when the economy is disappointing. But with the new rules, pensions are expected to increase more often and faster than at present. Good to know: a lot will remain the same. You'll still receive your pension as long as you live, and nothing will change about the state pension either. And there’s still security for your partner and children when you pass away, except that it will be arranged in a slightly different way to at present. You'll continue to accrue pension in the event of occupational disability. We'll also continue to share risks (such as in the event of death). Even before it finally became clear that the act would come into force, the social partners were already busy consulting with one another. That's because they will jointly determine the exact application of the new rules. At the end of 2022, for example, they provisionally opted for the solidarity premium scheme. That means that Bpf Koopvaardij manages and invests the money you and your employer jointly deposit for your pension. Bpf Koopvaardij does that in the same way for everyone. Windfalls and setbacks are absorbed collectively, which is why it's called a 'solidarity' scheme. Bpf Koopvaardij agrees with the social partners, in advance, on how it should distribute the financial risks and the return on investments among everybody involved.
Filling in the details So although Bpf Koopvaardij doesn't determine the new pension rules itself, it does check whether the plans and wishes are feasible, whether they're fair to all, and whether all the calculations are correct. It’s also Bpf Koopvaardij's job to fill in some sections of the pension rules itself. And the social partners have also asked us to do the calculations for 'conversion' [invaren], which means transforming that one big pension pot into individual pension pots. Bpf Koopvaardij has a working group making the necessary preparations. It’s looked at the level of contribution, for example, and what pension a member can achieve with it. The working group has also investigated how to make the transition to the new system equally fair for members of all ages. Also on the agenda: pension arrangements for a partner and/or children, pension in the event of disability, and how Bpf Koopvaardij invests. The results will be used by the social partners to make further decisions. The aim is for the social partners to have resolved all the problems by the end of this year and to produce a transition plan, so that Bpf Koopvaardij can take things forward. The social partners and Bpf Koopvaardij expect the new pension rules to apply to our members with effect from 1 January 2026. The ultimate goal for all involved is a set of balanced pension rules that are fair for all members. ←
Your views on the new system
Employers and employees decide jointly on the arrangements regarding the new pension rules. That doesn't of course mean that all the employers and employees are present round the table; that's a smaller group of people. On behalf of the employers, it means the employers' organisations; for the employees, it’s the unions. Do you also want to have a say about the new system? Then join a union.
You can also have your say about the new rules if you're a former member or receive a pension from Bpf Koopvaardij. Social partners are legally obliged to submit the agreed arrangements to associations of pensioners or associations of former members in the sector. This is referred to as 'the right to be heard'. These associations are entitled to express an opinion on the arrangements. Are you a member of one of the associations? Then point out that it has the right to be heard. That will allow the association to communicate its views or concerns to the social partners.
Want to know more?
Bpf Koopvaardij thinks it’s important for members to know what exactly is going on because a lot happens behind the scenes. Meetings for members will therefore be held this autumn at which Bpf Koopvaardij will provide information on the arrangements made and on what will change. You can also find information online: www.koopvaardij.nl/en/new-pension-system.