SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – People whose partners die before they reach their pension age could receive up five years’ worth of their salary under proposed reforms to widows’ benefits, the Volkskrant reports.
Unions and employers are considering changes to the system to prevent people suffering financially if their partners die while still working. The current ANW benefit only takes into account a person’s service with their most recent employer.
The Volkskrant said the plan would allow partners of people who die young to claim the equivalent of five years’ salary from their most recent job, either in five instalments or spread over the rest of their life.
Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees said in a letter to Parliament that under the current situation bereaved relatives have to negotiate a confusing and patchy system of pensions and benefits.
‘The current situation… is hard for participants to oversee and increases the chance of a lack of cover if people change job, become unemployed or divorce.’ The current system is also hindered by the lack of a clear definition of the term ‘partner’.
Unmarried partners are sometimes only eligible for payouts from pension funds if they have notified their pension provider directly that they are living together, and in some cases ex-partners can claim a share of the pension.
Around 118,000 people in the Netherlands under the age of 65 are widowed, one-third of whom are under 55.