Occupational social security schemes (Chapter 2 of Directive 2006/54)

AuthorRenga, Simonetta
6 Occupational social security schemes (Chapter 2 of Directiv e 2006/54)
6.1 General (legal) context
6.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties linked to occupational and/or
statutory social security issues
Research on the implementat ion of the EU anti-discrimination legislation as regards
occupational schemes in Italy is non-exi stent. The lack of debate is, first, a consequence
of the limited attention paid to the subject of social protection: despite the importance of
social protection at both the social and economic levels, there is only a small number of
outdated studies and research in the field. Secondly, the EU anti-discrimination legislation
has not yet been absorbed by the judiciary.
The main gender discriminatory featu res in occupational funds relate to the survivors
pensions rights of cohabitants and partners, who are often women; it must also be
reminded that the regulation of occupational funds makes no provisions f or the recovery
of wasted contributions during pregnancy/maternity. Some occupationa l funds do not
allow subscriptions to short-term employees. Sometimes, disabili ty benefits are
conditioned on extra c ontributions or age requirements. Over and ab ove this, one has to
bear in mind that the benefits rights o f atypical workers, intermittent, temporary,
occasional and part-time workers as well as those of workers with earnings inferior to the
average standards, many of whom are women and young workers, will be always at risk,
as their qualifying conditions, contributions record and benefit amount depends on the
regularity of their careers. The occupational funds, in particular, tend to mirror the
differences between workers in the labour mar ket and this is a cause for c oncern in the
light of a social protection system in which pu blic and supplementary schem es are seen
as complementary to the end of maintaining adequate levels of welfare cover.
The situation described above is reflected in a recent research study on occupational and
private complementary social protection funds.72 This study shows that t he gender gap in
the labour market is also reflected in occupational pensions schemes, where 61.1 % of the
participants are men and only 38.9 % are women. As regards th e gender percentage of
workforce, 27 .2 % of the male workforce takes part in o ccupational fu nds compared to
23.5 % of the female workforce. The fact that occupational funds tend to mirror the
differences between workers that exist in the labour market and the gender pay gap in
particular is also shown by the 2016 survey led by the Labour Commission of the Chamber
of Deputies at the Italia n Parliament.73 The commission recommends: the introduction of
better instruments to evaluate the gender imp act in the pensions sy stem; an increase of
notional contributions74 and instruments that help to avoid the consequences in the
pension system of periods of absence for caring reasons; and finally, the introduction of a
safety net in the social security system for those whose careers are fragmented and
characterised by instability.
72 See on this also Valeriani, A. (2017) Le prospettive evolutive della previdenza complementare.
Un’opportunit̀ per superare anche il gap previdenziale di genere (The evolution of occupational and
integrative funds. A chance of overtaking the gender gap in social security), in Working Paper Adapt,
University Press. Valeriani is a member of COVIP (the Supervisor Commission for Pension Funds). Available
at: https://moodle.adaptland.it/pluginfile.php/29543/mod_resource/content/0/wp_5_2017_valeriani.pdf.
73 Published in
74 Those are contributions that are credited without cost to the employee for periods during which the worker
has not worked (for example, in the case of illness or maternity) and therefore he or she has received
benefit payments from the national social security system (INPS).

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