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Spain strengthens pension rights over and above European rules 

The Spanish Government is guaranteeing the rights of supplementary pensions if a worker changes company.

Employees will maintain their pension rights if they move between Member States or within Spanish territory. In addition, the Directive sets a minimum age of 21 years and a minimum period of three years to consolidate rights.

A government spokesman explained: “The Council of Ministers recently approved the Draft Law (APL) that modifies the revised text of the Law regulating pension plans and funds. This transposes the European Directive on minimum requirements to strengthen the mobility of workers between Member States by improving the acquisition and maintenance of supplementary pension rights. These rights must be recognised when workers terminate the employment relationship in their company prior to retirement and move between Member States.”

The European Directive establishes the following minimum requirements, which are included in the APL. On the one hand, a minimum age of 21 years to consolidate these rights. In the framework of collective bargaining, a lower minimum age may be determined, but never greater than 21 years. On the other hand, a minimum period of three years in the company is established to consolidate these rights. Within the framework of collective bargaining, a period of less than three years may be determined, but in no case shall it be greater.

The Government has decided to go further and extend the scope of application to national mobility, that is, these rights will also be recognised for workers who change their jobs within Spanish territory and thus avoid situations of discrimination. However, in Spain it only affects collective insurance (a policy contracted by the company in favour of its workers), since for employment pension plans and corporate social security plans this regime of consolidation of rights in Spain’sinternal regulations.

In the case of termination of the employment relationship before three years of seniority, the premiums or contributions made to the worker and the company will be reimbursed; if the termination of the employment relationship occurs after three years of seniority, the economic rights will be maintained in the origin insurance contract or may be mobilised to another insurance, and will have the same treatment as the one given to the rights of the workers who remain in the company (for example, variation according to yields or according to an index). And to these is added the right of workers to obtain information, at the time of termination of employment, of the rights acquired and the treatment that will be given in the future to those rights.