Minister agrees to delay pension reform to 2028, ahead of vote

Pensions minister Carola Schouten. Photo: RVD – Valerie Kuypers and Martijn Beekman

Pensions minister Carola Schouten said on Tuesday she is prepared to delay the start date for a new pension system by one year to 2028, in an effort to keep senators on board.

CDA senators have said they want a delay in the deadline for implementing the reforms which were due to come into effect on January 1, 2027 to give pension funds more time to adapt.

GroenLinks and PvdA senators, whose support is crucial to pass the legislation, have also asked pensions minister Carola Schouten to bring in a delay.

CDA senators say there are signs that pension funds are concerned that the current deadline is too tight, particularly as they all need to make the change at the same time. This in turn will put pressure on the limited number of specialists and supervisors at the central bank who are helping with the process, the Financieele Dagblad reported. 

If the legislation is passed next week, pension funds will have 4.5 years to make the switch, once unions and employers have reached agreement on the details. 

The aim of the legislation, first mooted 16 years ago, is to make corporate pensions more sustainable. If the new system comes into full operation in 2027 as planned, workers with a company pension scheme will no longer know in advance how much pension they get.

Instead, pensions will vary in line with investment returns and life expectancy, meaning the economy will have more of an influence on payouts. The aim of the reform, the government says, is to spread the burden of paying for pensions more fairly across the generations.

Corporate pensions will no longer be on based average (wage-related) contributions but on everyone paying the same.

The Dutch pension system is currently based on three pillars – the state pension AOW, compulsory corporate pension schemes – either sector-wide or company-based – and individual or private pension schemes.

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