Nearly 30,000 Danes have applied for early retirement under a new program set up by the Danish government, IPE.com reported. The popularity of the option, which became available last August 1, is seen as validation for the idea that blue collar workers may need to retire early.
“The figures tell me that there has been a need for a solution, with an objective right for those citizens who have slaved away in the labor market for a great many years,” said Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s acting minister for employment and gender equality.
Danes who were born before December 31, 1953, qualified to receive the state pension at age 65. The pension age has gradually risen; those born after January 1, 1967, won’t qualify until age 69 (depending on future indexation for changes in longevity), according to lifeindenmark.borger.dk.
The program—the “Arne” pension, using a popular nickname for older male Danish workers—allows people to retire up to three years before reaching the national pension age if they have already worked for 42, 43 or 44 years (including periods of unemployment, parental leave and training).
Insurance and Pensions Denmark (IPD), a lobbying group, has objected to the new financial tax that will pay for it. IPD said that the proposed financial tax could extract as much as 1.5 times the revenue needed from companies, and that revenue from better enforcement of the existing tax laws could pay for Arne instead.
According to a report in IPE.com last October, around a third of the annual extra pension costs of 2.4 billion Danish krone ($370 million) in 2022, rising to 3.5 billion krone ($530m) in 2026, will be paid for starting in 2023 by a “social contribution from the financial sector,” with the rest being largely financed by taxing companies’ property holdings and a reorganization of municipal job center work.
The Ministry of Employment said of the 29,893 applications it received in the last four months, around 10,500 people had been granted the maximum early retirement entitlement. More than 11,500 had been allowed to retire one or two years early, and more than 14,500 had been asked to provide additional documentation.
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