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Pension reform: federal government reaches agreement

14 July 2023 Miet Vanhegen Employers

Belgium's ageing population poses a societal challenge. The federal government reached an agreement on pension reform on 10 July 2023: a new package of measures to improve the financial sustainability of the pension system. The new package complements the 2022 pension deal and the 2023 budget measures.

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Changes to second pension pillar

The main measure impacting employers is the doubling of the special social security contribution to be paid on very high supplementary pensions (known as the "Wijninckx contribution"). This contribution only has to be paid if the statutory and supplementary pension combined exceeds the maximum statutory civil service pension and will be increased from 3 to 6 % by 2028.

Pension bonus: working longer should pay off

It was also decided that the pension bonus, the bonus paid to those who do not retire early, will be paid net (and not gross).

Employees who work longer hours will also be able to choose to have the bonus paid in one lump sum. That lump sum can amount to € 22,645 net if you work three years longer than the date you are eligible to retire early.

Only those who work at least one year longer are entitled to (part of) the pension bonus. For long-career individuals, the pension bonus awarded per additional year worked will be equal to the pension bonus awarded in the general scheme for the third additional year worked.

The counter for the pension bonus always starts running from 1 January. The measure takes effect from 1 January 2024, which in practice means the first pension bonuses could be paid from early 2025.

Equivalent periods for minimum pension

As part of the Summer 2022 Pension Deal, it was already decided that you must have effectively worked for 20 years AND reached the statutory retirement age (currently 65, which will be raised to 67 by 2030) to be entitled to a minimum pension.

In order to take into account career differences between men and women, it was additionally decided that as well as the equivalent periods provided, subsequent periods will also be considered as effectively worked:

  • preventive work removal;
  • maternity leave (converted or otherwise);
  • birth leave;
  • adoption leave;
  • foster parent leave;
  • thematic engagements;
  • time credit (palliative care and care of child with disabilities);
  • temporary unemployment.

Civil service pension changes

For retired civil servants, there will be a capping of what is known as equalisation payments. In addition to the index, civil service pensions will only be able to increase by a maximum of 0.3 % of the total civil service pension per year.

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Written by Miet Vanhegen

Juridisch adviseur

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