Royal exception

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix has retired from her office at the respectable age of 75. Her mother, the late Queen Juliana, turned 71 on the day she abdicated from the throne.

Following their abdication, both received a full state pension from the age of 65 in addition to their ‘royal’ allowances.

Many normal mortals would be delighted to continue their careers after reaching pensionable age. However, increasing numbers of employers are specifying in their employment contracts that employment terminates at the age of 65. Employees who wish to continue working face an income gap because the state pensionable age is due to rise by one month every year until 2018. From 2024, the age for receiving state pension will be linked to average life expectancy.

Even where an employer has not provided for this contractually, many employees will be forced to stop when they reach pensionable age. The Dutch Administrative Office for Employed Persons’ Insurance Schemes (Uitvoeringsinstelling werknemersverzekeringen or UWV) Work Company has decided that employers will be given permission to terminate an employment contract if the reason for dismissal is that the employee has attained the state pensionable age. The Dutch Equal Opportunities Act provides that this age discrimination is permissible on the grounds that it implements employment market policy.

The legislation anticipates that you will be able to enter into a temporary employment contract with your employer after reaching state pensionable age. However, UWV Work Company will prevent this happening. If you had a permanent contract, UWV will refuse permission to terminate it[E1] .

Our new monarch, King Willem Alexander, may remain on the throne until he is 80. By that time, he probably won’t be the only one carrying on until that age. It is expected that the state of the employment market will be such that employees are no longer forced to stop working due to age.

One day, we will all become kings and queens.