Pensions at a Glance 2019
OECD study published in November 2019 focuses on non-standard forms of work and their effects on old-age security
CH – 01/2020
change and longer life expectancies are putting pressure on pension systems.
Reforms have been implemented or started in many countries to ensure the
sustainability of pension systems in the future. Generally speaking, these reforms
aim to increase the retirement age and/or reduce pension levels.
economic upturn of recent years has significantly improved the financial
situation of pension systems. However, the OECD strongly criticises the fact
that the financial pressure to reform has eased considerably as a result. In
some countries, reforms that had been agreed upon have even been reversed or
suspended. However, according to the study, pension legislation should not be
used for short-term political gain; rather, long-term measures are needed to
ensure adequate pension incomes while maintaining the financial sustainability
of pension systems.
work is defined as work not done on an open-ended contract for a single
employer. More than one third of all workers are in non-standard employment.
This share is expected to increase further.
systems are structured on the basis of stable, linear careers and do not
provide adequate protection for non-standard workers.
income (e.g. in part-time employment) and frequent job changes (e.g. due to
temporary contracts) regularly result in lower pension entitlements. Greater
representation in part-time work and lower earnings are among the reasons why
women’s average pensions are 25% lower than for men in the OECD. According to
the study, the gender pension gap is highest in Germany at 46%, while it is
below 10% in Denmark, Slovakia and Estonia. Career breaks due to raising a
child and unemployment also have a significant impact on expected pension entitlements.
of the self-employed is also a complex issue that is difficult to solve. In
some countries it is not mandatory for the self-employed to join income-based
pension schemes. Even if they are included in pension schemes, the
self-employed tend to make lower contributions. There are various reasons for
this, such as the fact that they are only obliged to pay minimum contributions
or that they have a relatively high degree of flexibility in setting the contribution
base. According to the study, the self-employed have on average 22% lower
pension entitlements than employed persons, in Germany this figure is 50%. The
study further states that the limited ability of self-employed persons to
acquire entitlements under occupational pension schemes also has a negative
impact on the level of pension entitlements.
emergence and growth of new forms of work (gig economy, platform work) also
pose challenges for pension systems. These new forms of work make it very difficult
to distinguish between employment and self-employment. There
is a high risk being wrongly classified as self-employed.
study can be read here. A more in-depth look is available in our background paper (German only).