The state pension age will go up in two stages, from 65 to 66 in 2020 and then again to 67 in 2026, ministers have finally agreed.
The hikes will not be phased in, but people will still be able to retire at 65 in return for a lower pension.
To lessen the blow for people doing ‘heavy work’, ministers have also agreed to amend health and safety legislation to force employers to find them alternative tasks after 30 years. As yet, the concept of heavy work has not been defined.
Nor is it clear if the 50 year residency requirement to qualify for a full state pension will be changed. To qualify for a full pension, someone must have been resident in the Netherlands from the age of 15 to 65. Each missing year leads to a 2% cut in pension rights.
The decision ends months of debate about how to increase the state and corporate pension age. Ministers say the move is necessary to offset the greying of the population and cut the budget deficit by some €4bn a year.
The state pension age of 65 was introduced in 1957 when people were expected to live into their early 70s.
According to figures released by the national statistics office CBS earlier this week, only 18% of women and 38% of men who are aged 60 to 65 have a job. Many have taken advantage of early retirement schemes, introduced in the 1980s to combat high youth unemployment.
Socialist party leader Agnes Kant described the planned changes as ‘pension theft’ while the Liberal VVD said it was ‘too little, too late and too complicated’.
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV was reported by the Volkskrant as saying the decision was shameful. ‘We want to keep the AOW and we can do that if we stop immigration from Muslim countries,’ Wilders said.
The plans must now be incorporated into draft legislation and voted on by MPs before it becomes law.
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