EU workers to enjoy transferable pension rights

Employees in the European Union (EU) that move to a different EU country will be able to take their full pension rights with them after a draft law was passed by the European Parliament.


Under current EU rules, employees that move between countries do not lose their statutory pension rights, such as those provided by the state.

However, no such EU-wide rules exist for supplementary pension schemes, financed or co-financed by employers.

This means employees risk losing entitlements built up over a period that is not deemed long enough by the state to which the individual moves to.

Under the new legislation, which still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers, the vesting period of active membership of a scheme needed for a person to keep supplementary pension entitlements, must not exceed three years.

Cross-border workers must also receive the same level of protection under the directive, which member states will have four years to put into effect.

The Council of Ministers blocked original legislation in 2008, due to differences in member states’ pension schemes.

Ria Oomen-Ruitjen, rapporteur, said: “The text represents a genuine improvement for many workers. It is a big step forward for the free movement of workers and a boost for a social Europe.

“A good pension is a necessity now that Europeans can expect to live much longer.”