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Reducing your working hours for a period? How will this affect your income later? Published: 12-03-2024
Most people who decide to start working less hours don’t realize how this will impact the level of their pension. They often only consider what reducing their hours will cost them now and only a third of people who start working less hours takes the period after retirement into account.

Wekker.jpg (23 KB)Almost half of the Dutch working population works part-time, up to 35 hours per week. The most important reason that a third of women start working less hours is to take care of children or grandchildren. This was also the decisive factor for one in five men. In the Netherlands, 62% of women and 18% of men work part-time.

These days many young people want a day off during the week. And why not? Burn-out is on the increase and it’s good to decide to develop your life on a personal level too. But be careful! 

Because the less you work, the less pension you accrue for later. Let’s look at an example of you working for 40 years and accruing pension over that period. For 12 of those 40 years, you work 60% instead of 100% so you have more time for your family. You will then end up receiving 12% less in pension later.  

And if you die when you’re working less hours, this will also have consequences for your partner’s pension. The same applies if you become fully or partially disabled during this period. So first read this brochure carefully to ensure that you’re fully aware of what happens should you decide to reduce your hours.

What about pension accrual during care leave and parental leave?
Care and parental leave are usually partly or entirely unpaid. If you take care or parental leave this could mean that you accrue less or no pension. Fortunately, many employers make good agreements about this in their CLAs. That’s why most PDN members still accrue 100% pension when they take care or parental leave. But just to be sure, you should always check this with your employer or in your CLA.

8 March: International Women’s Day 
This is a good time to consider women and the pensions they’ll accrue. After all, they are still the biggest group of part-time employees. 

It’s now very common for women to have a paid job and be able to choose for themselves how they spend the money they earn. Women account for some 25% of active PDN members. Fortunately, women’s financial independence has improved. 

But, on average, women still accrue less pension than men. At PDN, women accrue on average 32% less pension than men (nationally this is 40%). There is an explanation for this difference. It’s because women often work less paid hours than men and don’t work as many years during the course of their lives. And the less you work, the less pension you accrue.

National figures show that more women are currently graduating than men, but that two thirds opts straight away for part-time work (below 35 hours). This immediately leaves you one step behind financially, even before taking marriage or children into account. Because it’s unfortunately the case that becoming a mother is women’s most vulnerable life event financially, with their incomes falling by some 46%.

Of course, this shouldn’t prevent you from choosing what you think is important and, for example, working part-time, taking time off for personal development or caring for others. But you should also take the time to reflect on the consequences this will have for your income later.

Good preparation is half the battle
Partner’s don’t talk much about the details of their pensions. They usually know each other’s current income, but almost half doesn’t know how much pension the other partner has accrued.

And even if there’s no partner in the picture, it’s important that you consider the financial consequences of certain life choices.

You need to know how things are going with your pension and understand what impact certain factors could have on your income for later. Check your personal statement on and see what top-op options are available if you’re not sure whether the pension you’re accruing will be enough for later.
Full state pension, or perhaps not?
Besides your PDN pension, in the Netherlands you also receive a state pension (AOW). If you worked continuously in the Netherlands between your 15th and 67th birthdays, you’ll receive a full state pension. If you lived abroad for some of that time, 2% will be deducted from your state pension for each year you lived abroad. The same applies the other way around. If you started living in the Netherlands after your fortieth birthday, when you reach 67 you’ll receive 26 x 2% = 52% of the full state pension. You can check at the Sociale Verzekeringsbank whether your state pension accrual is complete (SVB website).
Do you have any questions about this item?
If so, please contact our Pension Desk.

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