Update on the local staff pension fund

08 September 2020
Ticker
Press Release/News

Over the period 1 July 1999 - 31 December 2017, Europol employed almost 100 staff members under contracts of employment governed by the Local Staff Regulations (‘LSR’). These employment contracts were concluded in accordance with Dutch labour law and these staff members were referred to as ‘Local Staff’.

The LSR included a (Dutch) pension scheme under the terms and conditions signed at the time with Loyalis Leven NV[1] (‘Loyalis’).  This scheme was a so-called defined benefit scheme which means that irrespective of the actual amounts paid by the employee/employer, the actual pension entitlements for the Local Staff were fixed (or “pre-defined”).  This type of pension scheme is thus built on a principle of solidarity of funds amongst participants.

By contrast to the above, a defined contribution scheme is where the beneficiary receives, as pension entitlements, the exact amount of the contributions paid (individually and by the employer), minus cost, plus investment gains.

All Local Staff who worked at Europol between 1 July 1999 and 31 December 2017 contributed personally to the funding of this scheme via deductions of their salaries, supplemented by employer contributions. All these contributions were collected by Europol on a dedicated and legally ring-fenced bank account and paid as insurance premiums to the pension provider, Loyalis.

When Europol became an EU Agency on 1 January 2010, Local Staff who were still under a contract of employment governed by the LSR were offered the possibility to participate to an internal selection procedure (‘ISP’). The aim of the ISP was to allow staff members to enter into a contract of employment governed by the Staff Regulations of the officials of and the Conditions of Employment of the other agents of the European Union, as per the applicable provisions of the Council Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009 (‘the Europol Council Decision’). 

Most of the Local Staff decided to “jump” to the new staff regime. The “jump” had consequently an impact on the pension situation of these staff members, who started to accumulate pension entitlements under the EU Staff Regulations.

Four Local Staff decided not to make use of this option at that time but seized the same opportunity offered later on, by the applicable provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of 11 May 2016 (“the Europol Regulation”). The last contract of employment governed by the LSR ended on 31 December 2017.  

Whilst the pension scheme provided by Loyalis remained in force for these four Local Staff until 31 December 2014, Loyalis decided to terminate the contract as pension provider as from 1 January 2015. Following the contract termination, Europol published an invitation to tender for a negotiated procedure addressed to other pension insurers in order to settle the insurance premiums for these four Local staff members as of 1 January 2015. Such a procedure, unfortunately failed, as Europol received no offer.  From 2015 onwards, the pension contributions were collected on the separate and legally ring fenced bank account dedicated to the ’Local Staff Pension Fund’ (mentioned above), used exclusively to manage the Local staff pension scheme.

Europol wishes to clarify the pension situation of the former Local Staff as soon as possible.  With the help of the specialised services within Europol, an action plan was developed.  The action plan includes measures on multiple levels (e.g. working together with former contractors/salary administrators, possible external consultancy etc.) eventually leading to the clarification of the situation of each former Local Staff member.

As a first step, already in 2020, a new invitation to tender related to the pension entitlements of the (last) four former local staff members for the period 2015-2017 will be launched.   For this purpose, Europol will work together with a specialised actuarial firm to minimise the risk of another failed tender procedure. 

Once the amount of the premiums for the period 2015-2017 will be settled, the exact balance of the ‘Local Staff Pension Fund’ will be known. Such an outcome is expected to be known only in Q2 2021. At this moment, it is not possible to predict whether the result will be a deficit or a surplus on the Local Staff Pension Staff. 

Europol also expects to have the finalised individual calculations pertaining to each Local Staff member by Q2 2021.

Depending on the outcome of both - the resulting balance (deficit or surplus) and the individual calculations - Europol will take further actions with regard to the ‘Local Staff Pension Fund’.

A further update on this topic is expected to be published on Europol’s website in Q2 2021.

In case you are still in contact with former Local Staff, please feel free to share this update.


[1] On 01 May 2019, Loyalis Leven became part of ASR Levensverzekering NV.