Companies will have to carry the main burden of transferring supplementary pension schemes that workers join to complement their social-security retirement benefits, according to a Directive approved by Parliament on 20 June.

In 2005, the Commission proposed a Directive aiming to facilitate workers' mobility by setting minimum standards for the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights, and thus make them easier to carry across borders. The Directive seeks to: 

  • Harmonise the conditions for acquiring supplementary pension rights;
  • tighten up the rules governing the transfer of acquired rights, and;
  • improve the information given to workers on how mobility may affect supplementary pension rights. 

On 21 March 2007, the Parliament's Employment Committee adopted the report by Dutch Conservative MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten on the Commission proposal (EurActiv 21/03/07). By and large, they confirmed the Commission's approach and even voted to extend its scope. The Parliament's stance was confirmed in the plenary vote 21 June 2007. MEPS voted that:

  • Contributions paid into a pension scheme are reimbursed or transferred when a worker leaves before he has acquired pension rights, and; 
  • the minimum period required for the acquisition of pension rights ('vesting period') must not be any longer than five years, and no such period must apply to workers older than 25.