With the general election approaching, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Socialdemokratiet leader Mette Frederiksen, the head of the main opposition party, locked horns in a televised debate on Sunday, and one of the key points of the discussion was early pensions.
Socialdemokratiet released a manifesto in January outlining plans to offer early pensions to those in the labour market who are worn out. The proposal suggested that construction workers and social workers should be able to retire early because their jobs are more physically or mentally demanding.
Rasmussen pressed Frederiksen on who exactly would be given the right to early retirement in the debate, and the opposition leader didn’t really commit herself to an answer.
And now the government has published a report that claims people with long working lives are actually less worn out than those who have not worked as much.
Women work less
“It might come as a surprise to some people, but people who have worked for many years are less worn out than their peers who have worked less. You therefore risk getting it wrong by giving an early pension to those who have worked for 42 years, for example,” said the finance minister, Kristian Jensen.
“Such a right will thus go to a group that is actually in better health than the Danish average. I also noticed that women and public workers in particular would suffer from an initiative in which those who have worked the most years should be granted an early pension.”
The Finance Ministry report (here in Danish) showed that, among the elderly who are employed, public workers, women and people with higher educations tend to work fewer years than average.
Meanwhile, the report also found that people in the financial sector have generally worked for many years.
Needs to be realistic
A recent Epinion survey conducted on behalf of DR Nyheder showed that 57 percent of the respondents believed that the pension age should not be the same for everyone.
But as Rasmussen told DR Nyheder in January: “Socialdemokratiet has proposed some principles that are geared towards making everyone happy, but which are difficult to attain in the real world. Denmark isn’t in a position where we can look 40 years into the past and map people’s working life.”
Last year, the 2018 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index ranked Denmark as having the second-best pension system in the world.
On a lighter note, this lovely hoax was fluttering about Twitter today. Get a Dane to translate for you, if you can’t manage to understand it.