Belgium had 6,333 people taking early retirement under 60 at the end of last year, reported ONEM (National Employment Office) figures, published by L’Echo on Tuesday. Workers with a long career, a job with significant responsibilities, or faced with company restructuring specifically can enter the pre-retirement phase before reaching the age of 60, under current rules. Adding the other categories benefitting from an exemption to those entering pre-retirement due to restructuring, there were 988 people with unemployed status receiving a supplementary company payment (known as the “RCC”) at 58 last year.
In 2018, 2,304 people benefitted from this system before reaching 60. The permanent flow of new pre-retirement phase entrants has brought the number of such individuals to 6,333.
In principle, the age for receiving the “interim” pension should be a minimum of 60 by 2020 at the latest. In the wage agreement concluded last week between trade unions and employers, social partners have argued for a postponement to mid-2021.
Although the CD&V (Christen-Democratish en Vlaams) and the MR (Mouvement Réformateur) have proved open to the idea, it is far from being so with the Open Vld and the former coalition partner, the N-VA (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie). The latter two parties consider postponement unacceptable.
The impact of relaxing the regulations, proposed by social partners, would be minimal, stressed the Minister for Employment, Kris Peeters (CD&V). It is not worth risking ruining the agreement in principle with social partners upon wages, for the sake of a relatively peripheral phenomenon, he said.