In Maurits Casteels v British Airways plc (C-370/09), the Advocate General has given her opinion that where an employee has worked for the same employer at different establishments in various member states, and at each establishment, was affiliated to the occupational pension scheme there, the entire period of service with the employer in all member states should be taken into account when looking at qualifying periods under the employer's pension scheme.
A Belgian national worker had worked for British Airways (BA) continuously for many years at sites in different member states, including a stint shy of three years in Germany. BA refused to give him a pension as he had not worked long enough in Germany to complete the vesting period under the pension scheme's rules to be entitled to any benefits. The worker argued that the vesting rule breached the provisions in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union concerning freedom of movement for workers and that his entire period of service across different member states should be taken into account.
Schemes may have to review provisions concerning qualifying periods if AG opinion followed
The ECJ is not bound by the AG's opinion but is known to follow it in most cases. If it does, schemes may need to reconsider provisions in their rules about the period of pensionable service required to be completed for workers to be entitled to benefits. The opinion, however, relates to continuous service across different member states and does not apply where an employee's service is discontinuous.