Ministers must make sure the definition of ‘heavy work’ in pending legislation on pensions is as narrow as possible, employers chief Bernard Wientjes told tv programme Buitenhof at the weekend.
The government plans to force employers to find lighter tasks for workers who have done ‘heavy work’ for 30 years so they too can retire at 67, the new state pension age. If employers don’t do this, they will have to pay staff a pension from the ages of 65 to 67.
But employers are concerned about what ministers mean by heavy work. Others argue they do not have enough lighter tasks available. For example, bus driving is seen as heavy work by many, but bus firms only have very few lighter administrative jobs on offer.
Wientjes said the definition of heavy work had changed considerably since the state pension was introduced in 1957. ‘People leave school later, they are not allowed to lift more than 25 kilos, we live longer. So there is nothing wrong with [working] two extra years,’ he told the tv show.
Health and safety legislation had also helped make sure workers were not physically damaged by their jobs, he said.
According to the national statistics office CBS, the most physically tough jobs are done by people in the building and healthcare sectors.
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