New company pension is not gaining momentum

One year of new company pension and no one wants it yet. Above all, low-wage earners and employees of small companies should benefit from the model. But so far there is a problem.

In particular, employees of smaller companies who have so far been left with no additional bonus for old age should benefit from the new company pension.

Se employees should be able to provide for retirement with the new company pension for a good year now. In particular, employees of smaller companies who have so far been left with no additional bonus for old age should benefit from this. Several insurers offer such products. However, there is still no collective agreement for the introduction of the model in a company or an industry. The federal government seems to be getting restless.

Company pension schemes are intended to become more attractive, especially for small and medium-sized companies and low-wage earners. Companies that are not bound by collective bargaining agreements should also be able to participate. According to the Federal Government’s latest report on old-age provision for 2016, almost 47 percent of low-wage earners with a gross wage of less than 1,500 euros per month have neither a company pension scheme nor a Riester contract.

“With every collective bargaining round that is missed, money is missing for the company pension scheme,” says Normann Pankratz, member of the Debeka board, for an early conclusion. Debeka has teamed up with several insurers in the Rentenwerk to offer corresponding products. Others have also taken a position, for example R + V Versicherung with the investment company Union Investment.

So far the idea has not really caught on

Employees who make provisions with the new model may no longer be guaranteed a fixed amount; it should only be stated as a target. The payouts in old age can therefore fluctuate. In order to achieve a certain level of care as much as possible, an additional security contribution can be agreed in the collective agreement, which the employer pays.

But so far the idea has not really caught on. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has invited unions and employers to a meeting on February 20. It should also be about the new company pension.

“We are ready to go, now the social partners have to move,” demands Pankratz. The waiver of guarantees is not a disadvantage. The manager advertises with calculations of the pension fund, according to which the additional plus in old age can be significantly higher in the future than with the classic model with guaranteed interest.

The reason: guarantees have to be generated through comparatively cautious investment strategies. If the guarantee is no longer available, the insured’s money can be invested more in investments that are considered riskier and with a higher interest rate, for example in shares. “So far, every slump in the stock markets has been absorbed in the medium term. We assume that this will continue in the future, ”argues Pankratz.

Necessity of a collective agreement particularly high hurdle

Verdi tariff expert Norbert Reuter, however, sees “no prospects that something will happen” in the current wage rounds. It is crucial that employers also make a financial contribution. “A social partner model always requires two. It cannot be that those who already earn comparatively little anyway have to pay for their company pension on their own ”. For the employees, this ultimately means that they have to forego part of the salary increase.

The waiver of guarantees is not necessarily problematic from Reuter’s point of view. “As long as the money is invested sensibly – and we as social partners would pay attention to that – more can come out for the employees than with the classic model.”

There are already pension funds in various industries. For this reason, too, there does not seem to be any need to rush. “We have had our own collective agreements on company pension schemes since 2001. At the moment we don’t see any reason to think about changes, ”says a spokesman for the Food, Pleasure, Restaurants (NGG) union.

The IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) refers to its own social security funds: “We have a model from which smaller craft businesses in particular benefit”. The IG BCE argues with its own chemical supply plant: “We currently have no time pressure, other topics are more in focus.”

IG Metall is currently discussing the topic in order to be able to identify both opportunities and risks. “The aim is to get an initial picture of opinions by the middle of the year, which the delegates will certainly be more specific about on the IG Metall trade union day in October,” says Germany’s largest individual trade union.

From the employer’s point of view, the need for a collective agreement is a particularly high hurdle. “There is still no collective agreement to implement the social partner model. That is why the companies cannot implement the new possibilities either, ”says the Federation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA).

At the same time, the BDA criticizes the high complexity of the regulations from their point of view: “The fact that the social partners have to participate in the implementation and control makes implementation more difficult. How the obligation to cooperate can be implemented in practice is currently completely open. “