NETHERLANDS - The Dutch state secretary Mark Rutte (pictured) has said that employees should be encouraged to work at least up to the age of 63 years.
The junior minister for social affairs and employment, who met with social partners last week, outlined proposals aimed at encouraging people to work longer.
Currently, most Dutch workers retire at the age of 60 years, on an average.
Rutte plans to get rid of the “fiscal stimulants” that allow employees to retire early and to soften the blow, the junior minister has offered social partners various sops.
Social partners have been resisting government proposals to abolish early retirement options, calling them “harsh and difficult to implement”.
The new “flexible” measures are aimed at getting the government and social partners arrive at an agreement by April, so that the new regulation can be implemented by 2005.
Rutte said that the government were willing to relax proposals that would allow employees to save 12% of annual wages tax-free, enabling them to take leave through their working life. This leave can now be used in the last two years of retirement, so that employees can quit work at the age of 63 and draw their pension at the age of 65.
He also announced that the government were prepared to increase the tax-saving proportion of employee pension, so that people could get pensions worth a maximum of 100% of their final income if they saved throughout their working life. This proposal is targeted at those who start working early, enabling them to save more and retire at 63.
Research has found that the Netherlands needs 25% more employees in the age-group of 55-65 years to continue working, if it has to comply with the new EU directive which comes into force in 2010.
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