Until 1 April 2010, two types of social security contributions were due by the employer on bridge pensions. The first was paid to the NPO (National Pensions Office) and ranged from nil to EUR 24.80 per month, while the second was paid to ONEm (National Employment Office) and varied from EUR 24.80 to EUR 111.55 per month.
These two contributions were replaced by a new system, effective 1 April 2010. Social security contributions on bridge pensions are no longer expressed as fixed amounts but rather as a percentage of the gross bridge pension paid by the employer (excluding unemployment benefits). This percentage varies depending on the age at which the employee takes early retirement.
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It should be noted that special rates apply to companies that have been recognised by the federal employment minister as in the process of restructuring or in financial difficulty, for the duration of their recognition.
Until 1 April 2010, the employee's contributions were 3.5% and 3%, for the NPO and ONEM contribution respectively, calculated on the total bridge pension (including unemployment benefits). These two separate contributions have now been consolidated into a single contribution of 6.5%, to be withheld by the employer from the employee's bridge pension and calculated on the total bridge pension (including unemployment benefits).
The new social security contributions, for both employers and employees, apply to bridge pensions granted to employees terminated after 15 October 2009 who take early retirement no earlier than 1 April 2010. However, it should be noted that the new contributions will not apply to businesses in the process of restructuring if a collective dismissal was announced before 15 October 2009 or to companies recognised by the federal employment minister as being in the process of restructuring or in financial difficulty before that same date.