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Directive on supplemental E.U. pensions proposed


BRUSSELS, Belgium—Supplemental pensions paid to workers in the European Union would be subject to the same minimum standards in all member states under a directive proposed by the European Parliament.

The proposed directive would apply to group insurance contracts, pay-as-you-go schemes, funded plans and any other supplemental programs that are becoming increasingly popular in the European Union as a way for workers to secure decent living standards in retirement, the European Parliament said in a statement.

Member states would see significantly different effects if the proposed legislation is implemented, the EP acknowledged. In some states there are no supplementary pension plans and in others few plans exist. In Sweden, however, around 75% of workers between ages 20 and 64 are members of occupational pension schemes, the European Union said.

Among the proposed directive's measures is one that would set vesting periods at a maximum of five years at a job. Some plans in France and most in Portugal only allow vesting at retirement if workers still belong to the company, the E.P. pointed out.

Member states also would have to ensure that workers receiving benefits from a supplemental pension retained rights similar to those afforded active workers. For example, protection against inflation and return on investment should be similar for both groups.

The E.P. is calling for gradual improvement in the transferability of vested pension rights among member states. Tax laws hinder such movement, the Parliament pointed out, but it suggested E.U. states work to change that situation.