1. Does your company have to offer a pension scheme?
In certain business sectors, companies have to offer their employees a pension. This is called a compulsory sector pension fund or bpf. Contact the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) to find out if this is true for your company. If so, you have to offer your employees a pension scheme within this pension fund.
You run a financial risk if you fail to do so. You may receive a notification that you have to join and register your employees with retroactive effect. You must then also pay overdue pension contributions. This may have consequences for your private assets.
Check whether temporary agency workers fall under a sector pension fund
Exemption (compulsory) pension fund
Do you not want to participate in the (compulsory) pension fund? Then you can ask permission for this from the board of the bpf. If you receive permission, you choose a pension scheme for yourself and your employees.
New Pension Act
On 1 July 2023, the new Pension Act came into effect. It changes the way in which pensions are built up. The rules for who needs to offer pension schemes to their employees have not changed. The new act makes it easier for employees to accrue pension throughout their career. It also makes pension schemes more transparent for employees and offers greater security. Read what the new Pension Act means for you.
2. Check if you need to take out a compulsory occupational pension scheme
Occupational pension schemes exist for some occupational groups. Participation is often mandatory. For example for notaries, healthcare professions and professions in the harbour. Read which professions have a mandatory pension fund (in Dutch).
Do you yourself fall under an occupational pension scheme? Then the pension scheme does not apply to your employees. You must offer your employees a different pension scheme. For example, 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.
Use the tool Which pension fund do I belong to?
You can check which pension fund your company falls under with the tool Which pension fund do I belong to? (in Dutch) of the Pension Federation, the umbrella organisation of Dutch pension funds. With the tool you can check if there is a pension fund that matches the activities of your company.
3. See what the Collective Labour Agreement states about pension
Even if your industry does not have an industry-wide pension fund, you are sometimes obliged to arrange a pension:
- If you are a member of an employers' organisation or professional organisation that has concluded a Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) with one or more trade unions, and
- if that CAO contains agreements about workers' pensions.
4. Provide your own pension scheme
Is there no compulsory pension scheme for you and your employees? Then you can decide whether you want to offer a pension and what the pension scheme looks like.
- you can set up a company pension fund;
- you join a general pension fund;
- you take out pension insurance with a pension insurer.
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).
Make your company attractive to employees
A pension scheme can make your company more attractive to new employees. And ensure that existing employees want to stay with you. Go to Geenpensioen.nl (in Dutch) for information about pensions for your employees. Would you like to set up your own pension scheme? Then also check the Step-by-step pension plan for employees in 6 steps (pdf, in Dutch) from the Labour Foundation (Stichting van de Arbeid).
5. 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. Less is allowed, more is not.
Pension schemes are deductable
Your share in the pension scheme of your employees counts as wage costs. Therefore it can be deducted from your profit. As a result, you pay less tax.
6. Ensure that you meet your duty of care
Information about pensions usually goes through a pension administrator. This can be the pension fund or the pension insurer. But 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.
- inform your employee within one month of starting work whether they will participate in a pension scheme;
- let them know how soon an offer will be made and who the pension administrator is;
- inform the pension provider when the employee starts and what pension agreements have been made with the employee.
The pension provider then informs the employee about the characteristics of the scheme. And about situations that require an action from your employee. For example:
- opportunities to accrue extra pension.
- the option to transfer accrued pension to the new pension scheme.
- the possibility to continue the pension scheme if the employee starts their own company.
7. Fulfill your registration and payment obligations
According to the Pensions Act, you are obliged to register employees with a pension fund. That is called the obligation to register. If you fail to do so, you may be fined.
You also have a payment obligation. 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.
8. 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 CAO. In some cases you may decide if you offer your employees additional pension.
9. Do not just change 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 scheme if you have your employees’ permission. Sometimes there is a provision in the pension scheme or CAO 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 CAO changes. You must then inform your employees with a proposed amendment.
10. Research your options
- All pension funds must report to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) after incorporation. The pension funds are listed in DNB's register for pension funds.
- See the overview (in Dutch) of general, company, occupational and industry pension funds on the website of the Pension Federation.
- Employers' and employees' organisations or the pension fund can tell you more about the pension scheme that has been taken out.
- Salary offices know how mandatory industry and occupational pension funds work. And they know about the wage tax return and uniform pension tax return.
- Talk to other entrepreneurs about pensions on the Higherlevel.nl entrepreneurial forum
- Download the Book of Finance from KVK (pdf)