The Future Pensions Act (“Wtp”) was passed by the House of Representatives at the end of 2022 and by the Senate on 30 May and will enter into force on 1 July 2023. This will include a generous implementation period during which the variety of pension schemes can be amended.
As a result of the Future Pensions Act (“Wtp”), the pension system will change from a system of pension rights to one with pension savings pots. Personal choices of the employee will also more often determine the amount of the pension. The transition to a contribution agreement with an age-independent contribution (“flat rate”) means that almost all pension schemes will have to be overhauled in the coming period. Almost every employer will therefore have to rethink its pension scheme.
Types of pension schemes now and under the Wtp
Currently, there are three types of pension schemes:
(i) benefit agreements, such as the average pay scheme and the final pay scheme;
(ii) capital agreements; and
(iii) contribution agreements, such as the defined contribution scheme.
Under the Wtp, there will soon be three types of premium schemes:
(i) the solidarity-based premium agreement;
(ii) the flexible premium agreement; and
(iii) the contributory benefit agreement.
Thus after the introduction of the Wtp only premium contracts with age-independent premiums will remain.
For companies covered by an industry pension fund, the transition to the Wtp will take place at the level of the social partners. Thus, no immediate action is required.
For companies with their own pension scheme with a pension fund or insurer, the pension scheme will have to be changed to a scheme within the framework of the Wtp. This must be done in consultation with the pension provider, the employee participation body and, in principle, with the consent of the employees. These employers will therefore have to take further action..
In the context of amending the pension agreement, the employer will have to draw up a transition plan. In the transition plan, the employer records in writing the choices, considerations and calculations underlying the balanced amendment of the pension agreement and the way in which accrued pension entitlements and pension rights will be dealt with .
For employers with a defined contribution scheme or an insured career average scheme, transitional law will apply, allowing an increasing premium (as long as it remains within a statutory maximum graduated scale) to continue to be allowed for employees in service at the time of the transition. From then on, a flat premium must apply to new employees anyway. These employers may therefore also choose to continue with two pension schemes
For more information on the Future Pensions Act, please contact Renzo Ter Haseborg.