22 Apr 2008

Women’s Pension Rights and Survivors’ Benefits

A Comparative Analysis of EU Member States and Candidate Countries

Chiara Monticone / Anna Ruzik / Justyna Skiba

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European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes (ENEPRI) Research Report No. 53  / 107 pages

This report presents and compares old-age income provision rules with respect to the issue of equality between women and men in the current and future EU member states. The report focuses on 25 member states and, to the extent possible, on the recently acceded and candidate countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia). The report considers various aspects of the benefits, ranging from entitlement rules to minimum pensions, through to childcare credits and assistance for survivors. Overall, European countries adopt similar measures for ensuring adequate old-age income for women. The elimination of differentiated entitlement rules for standard and early retirement plays a key role in the reduction of the differences between men and women. In particular, this process means a faster increase in the minimum retirement age for women and different methods of encompassing childcare periods in the pension benefit formulas. In the long run, the higher employment rates of women and reduced wage disparities between men and women should lead to better individual pension rights for women, especially in defined contribution schemes, which have recently been introduced in some countries.