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Pension schemes for your employees

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If you are an entrepreneur in the Netherlands and you want to hire staff, you can offer your employees an individual pension scheme, or have your company join a pension fund. In some business sectors, you have to offer your employees a pension scheme through a compulsory sector pension fund (Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds, Bpf).

Check if you fall under a compulsory sector pension fund

Contact the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) to find out if your company needs to take part in a compulsory sector pension fund. If so, you are required to offer a pension scheme to your employees within this pension fund. Otherwise you run a financial risk. You will still be requested to sign up your company and register your employees with retroactive effect. You must also pay overdue pension contributions, which may have consequences for your private assets. In some cases, you may be exempted from participation. However, you still have to offer your employees a pension scheme.

Occupational pension funds do not cover employees

Are you covered by an occupational pension fund? The pension scheme of that pension fund does not automatically apply to your employees. Instead, you must offer your employees a different pension scheme if they fall under a sector pension fund. For instance: if you are a pharmacist, you will fall under the fund for pharmacists, but your employees have to be covered by the pension fund for pharmacy employees.

See what the Collective Labour Agreement states about pension

Even when your company is not covered by a sector pension fund, you may still have to offer pension. This is stated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) and often depends on your membership of an employers' or professional association.

Have your own pension scheme

If you do not fall under a compulsory sector pension scheme, you may decide whether you offer a pension and what the pension scheme looks like. For instance:

You can ask advice from an independent financial adviser. You can also find information about the execution of pension schemes at AFM, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (in Dutch).

Have your employees contribute to the pension premium

Each employee is required to pay a personal contribution. Does your company fall under a compulsory pension scheme? Then the maximum personal contribution is stated in the pension scheme or the collective agreement.

Ensure that you meet your duty of care

Information about pensions usually goes through a pension administrator, e.g. the pension fund or the pension insurer. However, you also have to inform your staff about certain matters. This is called duty of care. Your pension fund or pension insurer can often help you with this. You must inform your employees about their pension:

  • upon employment. You discuss the pension scheme and the pension premium that they have to contribute, and whether value transfer is possible. The employee then adds his already accrued pension to your pension scheme.
  • during employment. For example, you discuss the possibilities to build up extra pension.
  • upon termination of employment. You inform your employees that they can continue the pension scheme themselves if they start their own business. And you tell them about value transfer from their pension to the pension scheme of their new employer.

Make sure you meet your registration and payment obligations

You can often make good agreements with your pension fund about the how and when you make your payments. But if you fail to pay, the pension fund can take substantial measures to safeguard pensions, sometimes with retroactive effect. You are personally liable if you default. Do you have trouble paying? Always report payment problems to your pension fund and look for a solution together.

Check the options for additional pension

Additional pension, as an addition to the AOW, allows your employees to build up extra pension. Sometimes additional pension is mandatory. This is stated in the pension scheme of the sector pension fund or in your Collective Labour Agreement. In some cases you may decide yourself whether you offer your employees additional pension.

You are not allowed to simply adjust your pension scheme

You are not allowed to simply change your pension scheme: it is part of the employment conditions. You can only change the cheme if you haveyour employees’ permission. Sometimes there is a provision in the pension scheme or Collective Labour Agreement that one-sided adjustment is allowed, but only in serious circumstances. For example, if your company is in danger of going bankrupt. Or because the legislation or the Collective Labour Agreement changes. You must then inform your employees with a proposed amendment.

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