The public pension system is well-developed, with a minimum monthly pension of €1,514 producing a redistribution of wealth in favor of the elderly. This can be illustrated by the following citation from the 2009 OECD Pensions survey: “On average, men in Luxembourg will receive around $825,000 in pensions over their lifetimes and women around $1 million. Luxembourg may be an extreme example, but lifetime pensions are worth $400,000 for men and $475,000 for women on average in OECD countries.”
Despite its extreme generosity, the public pension system is doing well, with huge reserves of around €10 billion, or 3.6 times annual expenditure. This is due to the recent sharp increase in the workforce, which has led to growth in the number of affiliated members, as well as their relative youth. But funding is only provided in the medium-term and will be threatened when the number of affiliates starts to decline. According to the Social Services Authority in Luxembourg (Inspection Générale de la Sécurité Sociale, IGSS), employment in the country will need to treble by 2060 to maintain pension equilibrium.
The Luxembourg Business Union (Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises, UEL) is concerned about a system that, even based on optimistic assumptions, will produce a cumulative deficit of 190% of GDP by 2050, and has presented a plan to reform it. Some of its propositions include: reducing the current replacement rate (which is now often above 75%); removing the systematic and automatic adjustment of pensions to the general trend of wages, lowering the maximum contribution threshold, which is currently €8,413; and encouraging employees to opt for a later retirement.
OECD, Pensions at a Glance 2009: Retirement-Income Systems in OECD Countries, Paris 2009
Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises, La réforme du régime général d’assurance pension, Luxembourg, July 2009, http://www.uel.lu/fr/upload/doc1637/Rapport_2009-07-15.pdf (accessed April 8, 2010).