Pension reform from December 1st: each worker can buy back their years of degree study
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    Pension reform from December 1st: each worker can buy back their years of degree study

    © Belga
    Each study year, which is adjusted, will yield a gross additional pension for the employed and self-employed of €266.66 per year (for a single person) or €333.33 (for a combined household pension).
    © Belga

    From December 1st, 2017, each worker is able to buy back any years of degree study, so that they count as part of their statutory state pension. The amount of this rebate has been fixed at a global gross amount of €1,500 for each year of their given degree study. The procedure, which all categories of worker and the self-employed must now pay for, anticipates that only years relating to a degree can be adjusted. The system does not take account of resit years.

    The rebate for study years was until now free, without further payment, for civil servants. From now on, this will operate on a paying basis for all workers, whether they are employed in the private sector, self-employed or in the civil service.

    The inclusive amount for adjusting pension contributions, which is fixed in a uniform way at €1,500 for each year of degree study, is index-linked. Those choosing to pay it will see their retirement pension increase. The pension amount will be further increased after 10 years following the end of study.

    In practical terms, each year of study which is adjusted will yield a gross additional pension for the employed and self-employed of €266.66 per year (for a single person) or €333.33 (for a combined household pension). For civil servants, the additional pension amount will depend upon their pay. The spokesman for the Minister for Pensions (currently Daniel Bacquelaine), illustrates, “Those who have a gross reference salary of €48,000 will see their pension increase by €833 per year bought back.”

    It should be noted that for the pensions of civil servants which start to run from March 1st, 2018, pre-acquired pension rights are preserved. Thus a civil servant holding a four-year degree, who has already completed three-quarters of his career, will automatically have three years taken into account. The automatic pension entitlement is also preserved for individuals who later than March 1st, 2018, fulfil the conditions to receive an early retirement pension.

    Moreover, civil servants can state for this purpose that they hold a specific degree. This applies even if the given degree is not required for them to carry out their role. Currently, only degrees which are necessary to carry out an individual’s job are taken into consideration.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times