This week’s European news in brief

Europe
defusing pensions time bomb

 

The
European Commission has published its Communication on the Future Evolution of
Social Protection to link pension reform with active employment strategy and
defuse the pensions time-bomb.

It came as
the EC presented a proposal for a directive on institutions for occupational
retirement provision. If implemented, a framework would be created to ensure a
high level of protection for the rights of future pensioners.

The aim of
the draft directive is also to ensure that institutions benefit from the
advantages of the single market and the euro and develop an effective
investment policy while exercising the freedom to invest in shares.

Scope and objective

Another
effect of the proposal would allow an institution in one member state to manage
company pension schemes in another.

Produced by
the financial services division of the Directorate for the Internal Market, the
full text of the proposal is available on the Europa web site, along with
responses to the 10 most frequently asked questions on the issue.

The
questions cover the scope and objectives of the proposal, how it will work,
what protection is provided for individual pensioners and why it has taken the
EC so long to come up with a solution.

Further
action envisaged includes an initiative on taxation of supplementary pensions
and the establishment of a pensions forum to look at how barriers to
cross-border labour mobility and their relation to supplementary pensions can
be addressed. This is a key issue for multinational companies operating in
Europe.

Future action

The EC will
undertake several studies in the year ahead to gauge public awareness and
expectation on the issue. It also proposes an exchange of information,
particularly with the US and Japan.

Other issues

Guidelines
for pregnant workers’ safety, issued in an EC communication, will aim to ensure
that expectant mothers and their unborn children are protected against health
risks in the workplace. Although it is up to employers to assess, avoid or
remove risks to their pregnant and breastfeeding employees, the EC believes
that the guidelines will provide a practical and efficient tool to health and
safety officers.

Employment
in Europe 2000, a statistical report produced by the Employment Directorate
General which analyses employment trends, jobs in the knowledge economy,
changing nature of jobs, unemployment, equal opportunities, employment trends
in eastern Europe and the impact of taxes and benefits on employment.

Full texts
on all topics covered in this issue may be found on the Europa web site.

www.europa.eu.int/

Date to note

25 January,
Brussels: The European Human Resources Network meets European Commission DGV
and the European Trade Union Confederation to discuss  the proposed directive

The title
of the afternoon workshop will be Euro Pensions – A Key to a Mobile Workforce
and will be led by Leonardo Sforza and Neil Irons of Hewitt Associates.

www.sue@gibas.be

 

By Susan
Gibas
secretary
general of the European Human Resource Network, a cross-sectoral information
network for European employers and HR strategists dealing with issues of
employment and the labour market in Europe. Contact sue@gibas.be

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