Wednesday , June 7 2023

Islands’ teachers’ pension rectified

The pen­sion rights of some 150 (partly retired) teachers and other employees of schools in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have been restored thanks to the Dutch Min­istry, of Education, Culture and Science which has made 2.7 million euros available for this group.

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced this in a letter he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament last Friday. The payment means that the affected group of teachers and non-teaching personnel at the schools no longer have to worry about the gap in their pension. Knops explained that Min­ister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven and Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Arie Slob, re­sponsible for the finances of schools, have made 2.7 mil­lion euros available to rec­tify the individual pension rights of educational per­sonnel on the three islands.

The Caribbean Nether­lands Pension Fund PCN will send the involved participants documentation within a few weeks which will show the changes in their pension entitlements per October 9, 2010, the day before Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba became Dutch public entities.
There will also be more attention for the communi­cation with the PCN partici­pants; for example, through the holding of consultation hours on each island. At the end of this year the active and premium-free partici­pants will receive an adapt­ed pension overview of the PCN which will clearly show that the corrections have been made.

Following a number of complaints of pensioned teachers in 2015, it was as­certained that things had gone wrong during the transfer of the administra­tion of the Netherlands An­tilles Pension Fund APNA in 2010 to the PCN. Some participating teachers and school personnel were short-changed because they were not correctly included in the APNA administra­tion.

The same was the case for government personnel who were transferred to the Na­tional Government Service for the Caribbean Nether­lands RCN in 2010. An as­sessment of the rights of the RCN employees was con­cluded in 2017. The Min­istry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK, as the formal employer, made two million euros available at the time to make good on the individual pension rights of this group.

Late 2017, early 2018, an inventory was made of the information needed about the employment history of the group of some 150 teachers and non-teaching staff at the schools on the three islands.
The assessment, supported by the BZK Ministry and the PCN, has been concluded, thanks to the cooperation of the three public entities, the schools and the participants themselves, stated Knops in his letter. “The assessment of the employment history of the in total more than 190 employees was time-consuming and necessary in order to correctly deter­mine the pension rights and the repayment of pension rights, including the legal interest.”

In his letter, Knops also mentioned the news that was already published on May 30 this year about the additional US $31 mil­lion capital injection in the PCN to strengthen the pen­sion fund’s working capital. PCN will receive $25 million from the Dutch government before the end of this year, and another $1 million an­nually in the six years after that.

The PCN had gotten in fi­nancial trouble for reasons that were not its fault. The financial injection eliminat­ed the threat of a legal pro­cedure by the PCN against the Dutch government.

The Daily Herald.

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