Supplementary pension schemes are taking on increasing importance in today's context of demographic change and an ageing population. The ETUC regrets the minimalist position adopted yesterday by the European Parliament, particularly on the following points:
- the vesting periods, i.e. the periods during which the employee works but does not acquire any rights, is raised to five years (as compared to a maximum of two in the initial proposal). This means that employees hired under successive fixed-term contracts, an increasingly widespread situation due to the lack of employment security, will never be able to acquire supplementary pension rights because such contracts are frequently limited to two years;
- the provision for employees moving from one company to another to transfer 'acquired rights' and reinvest them in the pension fund attached to their new employment has been deleted from the new text, a measure that can hardly be interpreted as encouraging mobility;
- the minimum age for the acquisition of pension rights is raised from 21 years in the initial proposal to 25 years, penalising young people;
- information to employees on their acquired rights and on the conditions governing those rights was initially a right and an obligation. According to the text adopted, such information will only be provided if requested by the beneficiary. Such a measure does not encourage transparency, which is vital in this field, and may in time lead to unpleasant surprises for the beneficiaries who have not been informed in advance.
For the ETUC, the proposal as amended and adopted does not respond to the challenges facing working life today. With this vote, the European Parliament has wasted an opportunity to:
- really improve the social rights of workers moving either within a Member State or within the Union;
- significantly diminish the obstacles to their mobility that were already identified at the time of the creation of the High Level Group on Workers' Mobility, ten years back - in other words in 1997!