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There is a variety of different compulsory and voluntary pension funds in the Netherlands. Pension funds can be set up for an industry sector or occupational group, or specifically for a large company.
Sector pension fund
If you are an employer in sectors such as the construction or finishing industries, you must take part in a company pension fund or an industry-wide pension fund (Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds, Bpf). You must also have a pension scheme. This also applies if you work on a self-employed or freelance basis in these sectors. If you have a mandatory affiliation as an employer, you must also accommodate your employees’ pension scheme within this pension fund.
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.
General pension fund
If you are not obliged to take part in an occupational, industry-wide or company pension fund, you may choose to join a general pension fund, in which several pension schemes are being managed.
Works Council's approval for changed pension scheme
If your company's pension scheme has been placed with a pension fund, your Works Council's approval is necessary 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.
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, you may offer your employees an individual scheme. You can do this with an insurance company, for example. In this case you and your employee pay a monthly amount. You can also voluntarily have your company join a pension fund.
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
Since 1 January 2019 pension funds and insurers can consolidate small pension funds into one single fund under the Pension Consolidation Act (in Dutch).