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We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Flexible retirement arrangements in which workers can retire abruptly or gradually at the age of their choice with higher retirement income as a reward for working more or longer fit well with the changes in life course patterns in the past decades and may help to keep pension systems sustainable in times of population ageing.
We analyse the flexibility of an existing pension arrangement in the Netherlands, characterised by a subsistence-level pay-as-you-go state pension combined with a supplementary occupational pension. We use the actual rules of a large occupational pension fund, the state pension and the tax system to calculate net replacement rates at ages 60 to 70 in full and partial retirement scenarios.
We find that partial retirement results in a smoother income path and encourages employees to defer their pension claims beyond age Moreover, while occupational pensions give close to actuarially fair rewards for continued full-time or part-time work, the state pension does not. This makes postponing retirement less attractive for low-income groups in particular. The labour force participation and labour supply of older workers is at the top of the policy agenda in many OECD countries.
Early retirement and other exit routes that lead to early withdrawal from the labour market endanger sustainability of the pension system and imply a burden for the macroeconomy, magnified by the ageing of the population. Footnote 1 In many countries, generous early retirement programmes and other exit routes have been largely phased out over the past 10 years. Moreover, life course patterns are changing and the standard life course with abrupt transitions from education to work and work to retirement at an institutionally determined age applies less and less.
Footnote 2 Differentiation in the balancing of market work and family responsibilities over the life course and individualised patterns with, for example, life-long learning and gradual retirement or bridge jobs have become more common, first in the U. Footnote 3 The growing services sector is facilitating flexible work schedules and could increase especially part-time employment among older workers.
Footnote 4 More flexibility in allocating working time over the life course can prevent the excessive time squeeze in the period when workers bear substantial family responsibilities and, in particular, can help women to remain attached to the labour force, thereby maintaining their human capital and raising their labour force participation when the children have grown up.
Footnote 6. The current policy debate focuses on increasing flexibility and allowing individuals to choose their desired retirement scenario from a set of actuarially fair options. Footnote 7 This may have important consequences for the labour supply of older age groups, since the literature suggests that retirement decisions are sensitive to financial incentives.
Footnote 8 Gradual retirement in particular has the potential to improve the lifetime utility of older workers by smoothing the transition from working life to a life with different activities, while at the same time increasing the sustainability of the pension system if it raises total hours worked.
Several studies have analysed the impediments to gradual retirement in the U. Footnote 9 and Europe. Footnote In this paper we analyse the financial incentives and disincentives for early and late abrupt and gradual retirement among Dutch employees entitled to an occupational pension from the largest pension fund in the Netherlands.
The Dutch pension system mainly consists of a flat pay-as-you-go state pension at the subsistence level for which everyone is eligible who always lived in the Netherlands , combined with supplementary occupational pensions mandatory for most employees, mostly defined benefit DB. Footnote 11 Early retirement schemes were introduced in the s and are slowly being phased out.
Footnote 12 After substantial reforms in the past 20 years, many pension funds, including the one we consider now, aim at maximum retirement flexibility with actuarially fair trade-offs: Employees can choose, but pay a fair price for retiring early or working fewer hours and are rewarded for working longer. On the other hand, the state pension system and features of the tax and benefit system make that the actuarial fairness of the occupational pensions does not necessarily translate into fair trade-offs in terms of net replacement rates.
Our main goal is to analyse to what extent a flexible occupational pension system that seems to put the incentives right ex ante still has features that make working longer unattractive, reducing the labour force participation and labour supply of older workers.
We consider a hypothetical benchmark employee with a given earnings level, entitled to a full state pension. These amounts are used to calculate net pension income replacement rates and pension wealth accruals for various scenarios of earlier and later abrupt and gradual retirement. We focus on a benchmark case, but also consider the sensitivity of the net replacement rates for different earnings levels, career interruptions, household composition and the parameters of the underlying pension system.
We also consider gradual retirement scenarios, because gradual retirement may help to keep people employed longer and therefore reduce total claims of pension rights.
Second, older Dutch workers are interested in working part-time before retiring fully, but appear to be restricted by labour market rigidities. Footnote 13 Third, gradual retirement provides a smoother transition to full retirement in terms of income, but also daily activities, social contacts, etc.
It may even be beneficial to health, since working part-time instead of not at all may help to limit the loss of cognitive skills, which is recently shown to arise with full retirement. Studies particularly close in spirit to our study include Forman and Scahill, Footnote 15 who calculate pension rights in full and partial retirement scenarios in a final average pay DB system. Munzenmaier and Paciero Footnote 16 and McGill et al. Footnote 17 calculate net replacement rates in full and partial retirement scenarios using observed pension entitlements in defined contribution and DB plans.
Fouarge and Huynen Footnote 18 and Euwals et al. Unlike these studies, we also calculate pension rights and replacement rates beyond the statutory retirement age and show how these change with the rules of the pension system and with pre-retirement income and other worker characteristics.
The main results of this paper are the following. Partial retirement instead of full retirement results in a much smoother income path before age 65 and encourages employees to defer their pension rights beyond age Second, replacement rates differ substantially across employees with different earnings levels in the cases of early and late full retirement, and this difference is much less substantial in the case of gradual retirement.
These replacement rate differences imply that gradual retirement is more attractive for employees with higher earnings. The replacement rates also change substantially in the case of career interruptions or changes in service length, household composition or the occupational pension accrual rate. Our analysis of pension wealth accruals suggests that the state pension and the tax system make later retirement actuarially unattractive, and this distortion is somewhat smaller in the case of gradual retirement than for abrupt retirement.
The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. The next section introduces the Dutch pension and income tax systems. The subsequent section calculates net replacement rates and analyses them for changing parameters of the pension system. The final section concludes. Retirement income in the Netherlands stands on three pillars: state pensions, occupational pensions and private pension savings. Participation in the first two pillars is mandatory. We do not consider the third pillar, because its share in retirement income is much smaller and its importance varies much more across individuals.
All pension and tax rules and parameter values are for the year and are assumed to remain unchanged thereafter. Some pension and tax rules are different for cohorts born before or , but we assume the cohort is younger. None of the parameters of the analysis depends on gender. We base our analysis on the DB scheme of the ABP pension fund, the biggest pension fund in the Netherlands covering employees in the government and education sectors.
The scheme is funded so that the pensions are financed from the premiums of the participants paid in the past and from the returns on the invested premiums. The full-time equivalent FTE is the ratio of actual, paid working hours to working hours in a full-time job at age t. The premium rate PR is the contribution rate. It is shared between employee and employer and specific to the premium type i. For the four types of benefits, the respective PRs paid by the employer and employee are Footnote 21 Pensionable income PI is annual gross income on a full-time basis, including holiday allowance and end-of-year bonus.
Footnote 22 For part-time workers, it is obtained by dividing the actual earnings by their FTE. PI is reduced by SPO because employees also pay premiums for state pensions.
We assume that our benchmark participant accumulates occupational pension rights from age 25 until age These accumulated rights are paid out as an annuity after age 65, according to the formula:. The current rate is 2. This is a stylised case since in reality, the age profile of gross income is usually not flat over the life cycle. Three specific issues regarding Eq.
First, the pension annuity depends on the domestic situation d. If the participant is not single when he first claims his pension rights, the amount in Eq. If the participant is single when first claiming, the pension amount in Eq. Second, the accrual in Eq. Footnote 25 Our calculations account for this supplement. Third, ABP aims to increase the pension annuities each year in accordance with wage inflation in the government and education sectors.
For example, on 1 January , ABP increased the pension rights by 2. In our analysis we assume no increase in wages and no indexation. Our analysis can therefore be interpreted as an analysis of real wages under the assumptions of full indexation and equality of wage and price inflation. The first panel of Table 1 shows a retirement scenario for a hypothetical employee who starts contributing to the pension scheme at age 25 and works full-time staying in the same scheme without interruption until abrupt retirement at age The premium paid according to Eq.
For his pension annuity at age 70, this means two things. The first factor is the pension annuity at age 65 given by Eq. Table 2 shows the full set of actuarial factors for all retirement ages. The actuarial factor for age 70 is equal to 1. Second, the pension annuity at age 70 will increase due to the additional rights accumulated at ages 65 to 69 and, due to the actuarial adjustment of these rights, to age Fiscal regulations require that the accrued pension rights do not exceed PI. The pension fund is required to pay out the pension rights once they reach the level of the PI.
Our calculations take this fiscal limit into account. The third panel of Table 1 shows a scenario where the employee retires and claims his full occupational pension at age The pension rights accumulate from age 25 to Claiming the pension annuity earlier implies that it will fall due to actuarial adjustment to age We assume that he claims half of his pension rights at age 65 and defers the other half until age In fact, fiscal regulations require that the fraction of the pension the employee claims be at most the fraction of the work time that the employee retires.
For his pension annuity at age 70, this has the following implications. It is possible to trade off pension rights over the partial retirement years in an actuarially neutral way.
The actuarial adjustments are computed in a similar way as above and depend on age see Table 2. The employee could increase his pension rights by 20 per cent from age 65 until age 70, implying a reduction by 9.
Footnote 27 This translates into a 6 percentage point increase in the net replacement rate from age 65 until age 70 and a 3 percentage point decrease at age 70 for the remaining lifetime.
mr. A.L. (Ton) Mertens
We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Flexible retirement arrangements in which workers can retire abruptly or gradually at the age of their choice with higher retirement income as a reward for working more or longer fit well with the changes in life course patterns in the past decades and may help to keep pension systems sustainable in times of population ageing. We analyse the flexibility of an existing pension arrangement in the Netherlands, characterised by a subsistence-level pay-as-you-go state pension combined with a supplementary occupational pension. We use the actual rules of a large occupational pension fund, the state pension and the tax system to calculate net replacement rates at ages 60 to 70 in full and partial retirement scenarios. We find that partial retirement results in a smoother income path and encourages employees to defer their pension claims beyond age Moreover, while occupational pensions give close to actuarially fair rewards for continued full-time or part-time work, the state pension does not.
Werkgever Alert 2016
Ton Mertens geeft colleges en verzorgt vakken op het gebied van de loonheffingen. Daarnaast is hij werkzaam als zelfstandig gevestigd belastingadviseur en publiceert hij regelmatig in fiscaal-juridische vaktijdschriften. Ton studeerde in af in de fiscaal-juridische studierichting aan de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden. Tot was hij als adjunct inspecteur werkzaam bij de belastingdienst.
Implications of Full and Partial Retirement for Replacement Rates in a Defined Benefit System
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