Civil servants to work longer than 65?

Pensions Minister Van Quickenborne and Secretary for the Civil Service Bogaert want civil servants to be able to work longer. At present civil servants have to retire at the age of 65. The two Flemish politicians believe that it is an antiquated system and hope to abolish this requirement.

Pensions Minister Van Quickenborne (liberal): "In future the rule will be that civil servants will be able to work past their 65th birthday, if their employer agrees. People should have the freedom to remain at work. The federal authorities don't want to stick a figure on the retirement age."

The two government politicians intend to draw up a royal decree after Easter. Civil servants over 65 will be able to apply for an extra year at work each year. As is the case in the private sector the employer will have to agree to the extra term.

Mr Van Quickenborne believes that other authorities too should abolish retirement at 65 year. Teachers can only extend their career by 18 months after they turn 65 says the pensions Minister, but this should change too.

The plight of the liberal economist Paul De Grauwe inspired Mr Van Quickenborne. The lecturer wanted to stay on at work at Leuven University after he reached the official retirement age, but couldn't in Belgium. To stay at work Prof De Grauwe moved from Leuven to the London School of Economics.

The Pension Minister's proposal fits in with the government's ambition to get more people into work for longer.