Joining a pension fund

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

There is a variety of different compulsory and voluntary pension funds in the Netherlands. Pension funds can be set up for an industry sector, an occupational group, or specifically for a large company. For some companies or professions a mandatory pension scheme applies. If this is not the case you can choose to join a pension insurance scheme, join a general pension fund, or set up your own pension fund.

Sector pension fund

In a sector pension fund (Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds, Bpf), employers in a specific sector participate. A sector pension fund is obligatory in many sectors. For instance if you are an employer in sectors such as the construction or finishing industries. This may also apply if you work on a self-employed or freelance basis in these sectors.

You can consult the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment’s Dutch-language list to find out for which sector a Bpf is mandatory. If you have a mandatory affiliation as an employer, you must also accommodate your employees’ pension scheme within this pension fund. There are also non-compulsory industry-wide pension funds. You can look up all pension funds in the Dutch Central Bank’s register of pension funds.

Occupational pension fund

Occupational pension funds exist for certain occupational groups (notaries, occupations in health care, and the ports). If you work in one of these sectors, you and your employees must sign up for these funds. You can check the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment’s Dutch-language list to learn for which professions an occupational pension fund is mandatory.

Exemption participation compulsory pension fund

In some cases you can be exempted from the (compulsory) participation in the industry-wide pension fund. For this you submit a request to the board of your pension fund. In the event of a dispute about this you can call in the mediator of the sectoral pension funds of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (Sociaal-Economische Raad, SER).

No compulsory pension fund

If your business is not covered by a compulsory pension fund, you may offer your employees an individual scheme. You can do this by:

  • taking out a pension insurance with an insurance company. In this case you and your employee pay a monthly amount.
  • joining a general pension fund (algemeen pensioenfonds, APF), in which several pension schemes are being managed
  • setting up your own company pension fund

Works Council's approval for changed pension scheme

If your company's pension scheme has been placed with a pension fund, you need the approval of your Works Council if you want to change the scheme. However, you are exempt from this requierement if pension arrangements have been made in the Collective Labour Agreement.

Register for pension funds

After their formation all pension funds must report to the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank, DNB). All pension funds are listed in their register for pension funds.

Conditions to set up a pension scheme

If you wish to implement a pension scheme for employees, you are required to meet certain conditions.

Consolidation of pensions

Pension funds and insurers can consolidate small pension funds into one single fund under the Pension Consolidation Act (in Dutch).

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