Thursday, March 01, 2012

Europe: White Paper on Pensions Includes Recommendations on Enabling People to Continue Working

A White Paper published by the European Commission on adequate, safe and sustainable pensions looks at how the EU and the member states can work to tackle the major challenges that confront our pension systems. Among other things, it puts forward a range of initiatives to help create the right conditions so that those who are able can continue working--leading to a better balance between time in work and time in retirement; to ensure people who move to another country can keep their pension rights; to help people save more and ensure that pension promises are kept and people get what they expect in retirement.

The White Paper includes proposals to:
  • create better opportunities for older workers by calling on the social partners to adapt work place and labour market practices and by using the European Social Fund to bring older workers into work. Enabling people to work longer is a major focus of the European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations;
  • make supplementary pensions compatible with mobility, through legislation protecting the pension rights of mobile workers and by promoting the establishment of pension tracking services across the EU. This can provide citizens with information about pension entitlements and projections of their income after retirement.
  • encourage Member States to promote longer working lives, by linking retirement age with life expectancy, restricting access to early retirement and closing the pension gap between men and women.
  • continue to monitor the adequacy, sustainability and safety of pensions and support pension reforms in the Member States.
The EU has also published an FAQ on the White Paper. In prepared remarks, Commissioner László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said that while the White Paper aimed to improve the employability of older workers, raising the pensionable age alone is not enough, and that member states need take into account the fact that the ability to work--and to find employment--differs widely between individuals, and that life expectancy and health status at age 60 or age 65 tends to be lower for manual workers who started working at a young age. Source: Press Release (February 16, 2012)

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