What is the impact of the Future of Pensions Act?
November 8, 2023
Meanwhile, the Future of Pensions Act (Wtp) is a reality. The new law is an overhaul of our pension system and stems from an elaboration of the 2019 Pension Agreement. Although the Wtp was written primarily for pension funds, however, it also affects pension plans that are "voluntarily" insured by an employer with a Contributory Pension Institution or pension insurer. In this blog, we discuss the changes to the employer's own "voluntary" pension plan. After all, the employer does have influence on the further details of this pension plan.
What is the rationale behind the Future of Pensions Act?
The purpose of the Wtp is to make the pension system more future-proof, personal, transparent and fair. There should be more perspective for participants that pensions will be indexed. Participants themselves are given more responsibility over the expected pension benefits.
The WTP entered into force on July 1, 2023 with a transition period until January 1, 2027 (possibly becoming 1-1-2028).
If the employer has entered into a "voluntary" pension plan, the advice is not to wait too long with the transition to the new pension plan. Start taking stock in time to carefully consider the mandatory changes and adjust the pension plan to the new legal requirements at the right time.
Impact of the Future of Pensions Act on "voluntary" pension plans
- Salary tenure arrangement
There are two types of salary service plans: final salary and average salary.
Final salary plan: a salary increase not only affects future years of service, but also affects the pension entitlements already accrued from entry into this pension plan.
Average pay plan: a salary increase only works over future years of service. Already accrued pension entitlements remain unchanged.
- Defined contribution plan
There are formally three types of contribution agreements, with the investment agreement being the most common. In this pension plan, the employer deposits a premium for the member. The amount of the retirement pension to be achieved depends on a number of factors. These include: amount of the premium deposit, return achieved on this premium, actuarial interest rate and life expectancy on the retirement date.
- Fixed or increasing defined contribution plan
In defined contribution plans, we usually see an age-dependent premium. The older the member gets, the more premium will be deposited by the employer. Per age group of five years, the premium percentage increases. Sometimes there is also an age-independent premium. Then the same premium percentage applies to all employees.
- Partner's pension before retirement date
- In many salary service plans, you see a partner's pension on an accrual basis. This means that a partner's pension remains promised at the time the participant leaves employment. In a defined contribution plan, there is always a partner's pension on a risk basis. This means that the partner's pension lapses when the member leaves employment.
- Under the current calculation system, the amount of the partner's pension depends, among other things, on the participant's years of service to be achieved (date of employment to retirement date).
What are the changes when it comes to the Wtp?
- Pension promises based on salary service will no longer be allowed. Any pension promise will be based on a "contribution agreement."
- As of Jan. 1, 2027 (or 2028), no age-related premium will apply to new members.
- Partner's pension always on a risk basis
- Partner's pension amount is a percentage of salary
Among other things, what should the employer consider?
- What are the available premium rates going to be for employees?
- Are there equal treatment implications if the same age group has a different commitment?
- Should workers be compensated or not?
- What is the percentage going to be for the partner's pension?
Working conditions and employee information
A pension plan is a fringe benefit. The employer cannot change the pension plan unilaterally. This requires the agreement of the works council, employee representation and/or the individual employee himself. It is therefore very important to shape the entire transition carefully and to include all parties involved in this transition from the very beginning. Here it is very important to involve the accountant / tax expert or labor law specialist.
Impact new law is substantial
The Wtp means that all pension plans in the Netherlands must be changed. The impact for an employer and employee is substantial. It is important that the pension advisor makes good agreements with the employer and, where necessary, has the accountant / tax expert / labor law specialist look on. Our advice is: start in time to avoid time pressure and do it together.