FAQ

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Participants, beneficiaries and benefits

The Pension Plans and Funds Regulation Act distinguishes between contributions according to who makes them:
  • The promoter (CaixaBank): these are called contributions (by the company).
  • The participant: these are called contributions (those that we make voluntarily and individually).

The promoter may contribute a maximum of 10.000,00 euros. 8.500,00 shall consume the participant’s contribution limit of 1.500,00 euros.

When contributions exceed this limit, they will be made in the SegurFon company contract constituted in the name of the participant.

Our plan covers retirement and risk contingencies (disability or death) and for this purpose the promoter makes two types of contributions.

For retirement: monthly contribution (active employees from the second year of seniority), the amount of which is capitalised in the fund individually until the age of 67 (or until retirement).

To cover risk benefits(incapacity or death): annual contribution (active employees from the first day in the company) incorporating the amount of the individual premium for each employee. These contributions do NOT increase the vested rights in the fund.

In CaixaBank Now, in the section on PLANS, I can consult the details of transactions for the current year:

  • Pension contributions
  • Risk premiums (coverage for disability or death)
  • Total contributions of the participant: when the total is up to €10.000 (or the tax limit of your territory).

If the contributions exceed the tax limit for my territory, I can check my policy details:

In the INSURANCE section (when the total contributions exceed €10.000 or the tax limit for your territory):

  • Group insurance (accumulated balance and details of movements)

a) For supplementary unrestricted capital:

These would be the persons designated in the last express designation (membership form of the Pension Plan or subsequent modification of the same, or will where the Pension Plan expressly appears). If there is no designation, the provisions of the law for intestate succession will be taken into account.

b) For GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME:

They would be the legal spouse (bearing in mind that separated persons continue to have a legal spouse until there is a court or legal divorce decree) and children under 25 years of age (or incapacitated adults). In the first case she would be entitled to a widow’s pension and in the second case to an orphan’s pension.

When there are children under the age of 25 and there is no legal spouse, the widow’s/widower’s pension is divided among the children, increasing the percentage of the benefit to be received.

If, once these pensions have been built up, there is any remaining vested rights, these will be paid to the same persons as the unrestricted capital. The form of receiving the remainder would be the one chosen among the benefit modalities established for the retirement contingency.

You can designate beneficiaries in CaixaBank Now, consulting your plans: in the ‘See options’ menu you will find an option that will allow you to make/consult the Designation of Plan Beneficiaries.

There are five of them:

A) In the form of capital
B) In the form of financial income
C) In the form of an assured income
D) Mixed: Combination of any of the previous modalities.
E) In the form of non-regular payments.

It should be borne in mind that receipt in the form of financial income or deferred capital implies keeping the rights vested in the pension fund and therefore subject to the same revaluation/risk that corresponds to active members.

In this mode, the beneficiary bears the risk of longevity (living “too long”) in exchange for being the owner of the rights at all times and being able to pass them on to his or her beneficiaries in the event of death.

In contrast, with the (insured) annuity, long-term survival is covered by the insurer, and it is the responsibility of the beneficiary to live “long enough”.

As the fifth alternative means renouncing the possible tax reduction for capital relief, beneficiaries generally choose any of the first three alternatives or the combination of them that best suits their needs (mixed).

This benefit has been incorporated into the Specifications in accordance with the provisions of Article 8.2 of the Pension Plans and Funds Regulations, after the mandatory
labour agreement.

It should be understood that the participant does not retire but acquires the status of beneficiary of the Pension Plan for the purposes of the legal restrictions, in particular the incompatibility of making contributions for retirement in any pension plan, while receiving benefits from the Plan.

The condition for being able to advance payment of the benefit is to have terminated the employment relationship with the Promoter as a result of a collective procedure with a labour agreement that provides for the transfer to the legal situation of unemployment (former Redundancy Proceedings), and not to be receiving contributions from the Promoter.

The contracting of the benefit is identical to that of final retirement. Therefore, the participant may apply for it when it suits him/her (there is no time limit) and in any of the modalities foreseen in the specifications (insured income, life or temporary annuity, financial income, capital or any combination of the above).

The Office of the Participant (tel. 934 041 647) advises interested parties on how to access the benefit, with the appropriate simulations and scenarios, as if they were the beneficiary of a definitive retirement pension.

The specifications of our plan stipulate that vested rights can be transferred to another plan before the age of 60 or from the age of 60 onwards if the transfer is made in order to receive benefits in the event of liquidity due to long-term unemployment; but with the establishment of the benefit advance, liquidity is already available from the plan itself and is not at all necessary, unless financial or other reasons make it advisable.

At least four of these are: the flexibility and diversity in the way benefits are paid out, the permanent advice provided by the Member Office, the very low expenses and fees, and the historical performance of the Plan.

Long-term performance data, volatility and other qualitative aspects are even better over the medium and long term than those of guaranteed funds. However, VidaCaixa markets plans with investment policies for all tastes and needs under very favourable conditions.

In essence, nothing. The Plan’s retirement pension is compatible with any form of income from economic activities or earned income. As mentioned above, the only limitation is that it is not possible to make retirement contributions to any pension plan while receiving benefits from the Plan (the contributions made would be used to cover the contingency of death). It should be remembered that the benefit can be suspended at any time at will.

The family, property and emotional situation of each participant is different, so it is impossible to generalise. The benefit has been introduced mainly to supplement income from severance pay, e.g. at the end of unemployment benefit, without spending significant amounts from the pension fund, which will be needed to supplement the social security pension in the future.

Only for Unitholders who continue to receive contributions from the Promoter. Suspended members who require partial or full liquidity from their pension fund will obtain it in the form of a benefit from the Plan itself or by transferring their vested rights to another plan.

But we believe that the most integrated, efficient and easy solution to manage the new situation is to establish an orderly flow of income from all available sources of funding over time: severance pay, unemployment benefit, advance retirement benefit, public pension and final pension from the Plan, in the order that best suits each individual, not least to take advantage of the 40% tax reduction for capital receipt.

This means that I am a full participant and cannot mobilise my vested rights. Nor can I anticipate the receipt of the retirement benefit, as no one can combine contributions and benefits for the same contingency, in accordance with the Specifications of our Pension Plan and the regulations in force.

Notwithstanding the above, persons affected by collective redundancy processes by labour agreement related to the new Labour Agreement of 06/05/2016 who receive contributions to the Pension Plan may request CaixaBank to advance a one-off contribution equivalent to 90% of their outstanding pension contributions.

The payment of the single contribution implies the change to Suspended Participant, and therefore, the loss of the risk coverage established in the Plan (death and disability of the participant), allowing access to the request for the advance of the retirement benefit.

The advance payment of outstanding pension contributions is requested at the Office of the Participant by means of the document approved in the Labour Agreement of 06/05/2016, available on this website under ‘Documents/Forms for formalities/8. Request to CaixaBank Pending Contributions DCAL.pdf’.

Once the requirements have been verified (participant with contributions included in the list of groups approved in the Labour Agreement 06/05/2016) CaixaBank will make the single contribution for retirement, at the latest, in the last two working days of the month following receipt of the request at the Participant’s Office.

The amount of this single contribution shall be equal to 90% of the amount of outstanding pension contributions, without taking into account or applying future revaluations that may be provided for in the original agreements.

Once the single contribution has been made, the status of Suspended Participant is acquired, with a maximum period of seven calendar days to request the advance of the retirement benefit.

Retirement and social security

The current ordinary retirement age in Spain in 2021 is 66 years and will gradually increase to 67 years in 2027. However, if you have paid contributions for at least 37 years and three months, you can continue to retire at the age of 65. This contribution period, which continues to allow retirement at 65, will gradually increase to 38,5 years in 2027.

There are two requirements:

  • Generic vesting requirement: Contribute at least 15 years.
  • Specific qualifying condition: At least 2 years of contributions in the 15-year period immediately prior to retirement.

The calculation is carried out in two steps:

  1. The regulatory base is calculated on the basis of the contributions of the last 24 years (computable period in 2021, from 2022 it will be the last 25 years). The regulatory base is an adjusted average of the contribution bases for that period.
  2. Depending on the length of time you have paid social security contributions, the pension will be a percentage of the regulatory base. With 15 years of contributions, 50% of the regulatory base is available. In 2021, 100% of the regulatory base is reached with at least 36 years of contributions. From 2027, at least 37 years will be required.

Contribution gaps are considered to be those periods without contributions that fall within the range of months from which the regulatory base is determined. For workers who retire through the General Scheme, the 48 months without contributions closest to the qualifying event (retirement) will be integrated by the minimum base of all those existing at any given time, and the rest by 50% of that minimum base. In the Self-Employed Workers’ Scheme (RETA), there is no formula for integrating gaps, and they are computed as a zero base.

There are several situations that allow for early retirement, although some are restricted to certain groups. The two most common modalities are:

  • Early retirement due to involuntary termination: Requires involuntary termination due to objective causes of company restructuring and having contributed for at least 33 years. It allows to anticipate the age up to 4 years.
  • Early retirement at the will of the worker: Allows the age to be brought forward by up to two years. You must have paid contributions for at least 35 years and be registered or assimilated to registration with the Social Security.

Retirement pensions range, according to the amounts in force for 2021, from 645,25 euros per month (minimum pension without a dependent spouse) to 2.707,49 euros per month (maximum pension). The retirement pension is paid in 14 annual instalments. Pensions below the minimum pension may be supplemented up to the minimum pension, provided that certain requirements are met, such as a certain lack of income or residence in Spain.

  • For childbirth: Up to 112 contribution days are recognised for each birth (126 days in the case of multiple births of two children, adding 14 more days for each child), when the maternity benefit has not been paid in full. These recognised days are counted for all purposes, including the accreditation of periods of sick leave.
  • For childcare: These are counted as fictitious contribution days when it is proven that the workers (male or female) terminated their employment contract or ended their unemployment benefit, interrupting their contribution career, within the 9 months prior to the birth of their child or in the following 6 years after the birth of their child. These recognised days (up to 270 days for each child) do not count towards qualifying periods.
  • Leave of absence to care for a child or foster child or to care for family members: Periods of leave of absence to care for a child or foster child (maximum 3 years) and to care for family members (maximum 1 year) are considered to have been effectively contributed to.
  • Gender Gap Supplement: Beneficiaries are women and men who have had one or more children and who are in receipt of a contributory retirement pension (except partial retirement), permanent disability pension or widow’s/widower’s pension. When accessing full retirement from partial retirement, the supplement shall be recognised, if the requirements are met. In 2021, the amount is €27 per month for each child, subject to a limit of four times this amount. The supplement is not taken into account in the application of the ceiling for contributory pensions or for determining the supplement for pensions below the minimum.

As a general rule, receipt of the pension is not compatible with a job, and receipt of the pension must be suspended while it is compatible with the job. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Active retirement: Allows 50% of the pension to be combined with any self-employed or employed work.
  • Partial retirement: The worker, in agreement with his employer, reduces his working hours by between 25% and 50% and retires, receiving the retirement pension in inverse proportion to the reduction in working hours.
  • Flexible retirement: Once you have retired, you can combine the receipt of a percentage of your pension with part-time paid employment.
  • Receipt of the full amount of the pension is compatible with self-employment, provided that the annual income from this activity does not exceed the annual minimum wage (SMI).

Pensions are considered as employment income for personal income tax purposes, and will be subject to the corresponding withholding tax if they exceed the amounts on which there is no obligation to withhold tax.

Most pensions are recognised by the General Social Security Scheme, which is the scheme for employed persons. However, there are other regimes, such as the RETA (self-employed) or the Passive Class regime (the former civil servants’ regime, now being phased out). There is reciprocal computation between the different schemes, so it is possible to ask for contributions to be taken into account in a scheme other than the one in which the pension is settled.

There are international conventions for the mutual recognition of trading periods. In the European environment, they govern Community regulations. In the case of third countries, bilateral treaties must be invoked. Spain has bilateral agreements with 24 countries.

Plan and Fund

In accordance with the Texto Refundido de la Ley de Regulación de Planes y Fondos de Pensiones, the Employment Pension Plans are managed by a Management Entity, under the supervision of a Control Committee and with the assistance of a Depositary Entity.

Our management company is VidaCaixa S.A.U., which is the “la Caixa” group’s Pension Plans and Funds manager. This was determined by labour agreement of 31/07/2000 (Externalisation of the pension commitments of “la Caixa”).

In order to change the management company, two successive circumstances would have to be met: a new labour agreement would have to be signed and agreed by a majority of 80% or more of the members representing the Promoter and the labour representatives on the Control Committee.

The Control Committee is made up of 15 members, 4 representing the Promoter (CaixaBank) and 11 representing participants and beneficiaries (who are appointed on the basis of the votes obtained in the last trade union elections, reaching a minimum of 5% of the votes). The Control Committee is ordinarily renewed every four years. Any member of the Control Committee may be replaced at any time by the group that appointed him/her.

Currently the agreed distribution of representatives of participants and beneficiaries is: CCOO 5, SECB 4, UGT 2. The Presidency is held by CCOO, the Vice-Presidency by SECB and the Secretariat by the Promoter.

Attendance at meetings of the Control Committee may be in person or by representation conferred on another member of the Committee and shall be validly constituted when, duly convened, the majority of its members attend, either directly or by representation, 8.

In general, resolutions require a simple majority of those present, except for certain aspects contemplated in the Specifications, where a qualified majority of 80% of the members,12, shall be required.

Investment policies aim at trying to achieve the profitability necessary to achieve the planned capital accumulation. These policies are designed jointly by the Management, the Control Committee and the advice of a consultancy firm specialising in various areas.

The Investment Policy is reflected in the document approved by the Supervisory Board called ‘Statement of Investment Policy Principles (DPPI).

You can find more information in the Investment Fund section.

Spanish legislation does not require specific training, but it has been proven that the Control Committee, both the promoter and the labour representatives, assign persons trusted by each group with sufficient financial and social and labour training to take on this function.

This is provided for in the Good Governance Manual approved by the Control Committee as part of the Good Governance strategy.

Equities are one of the assets that can outperform inflation over the long term because their performance is closely linked to economic growth. The Fund invests in equities on the premise that the return we earn outweighs the risk we take, in the context of a well-diversified portfolio.

At least four of these are: the flexibility and diversity in the way benefits are paid out, the permanent advice provided by the Member Office, the very low expenses and fees, and the historical performance of the Plan.

In the form proposed by some members, it has never been possible to mobilise it, as it is not permitted by law, nor does the Specifications provide for it in occupational pension plans. The only ones who can do so are suspended participants, which are those who voluntarily, disciplinarily or causally have definitively terminated their employment relationship with CaixaBank and do not receive contributions to the Pension Plan. Since March 2008, this right has been limited to suspended participants under 60 years of age.

It must be made very clear that neither early retirees nor retirees, partial or permanent, have the status of suspended participants.

Pre-retirees, partial retirees and retirees who are no longer in retirement have the status of active participants conferred on them by the regulations in force and the Plan Specifications, as they continue to receive contributions from the Promoter.

Pensioners, whether or not they have received the benefit, become beneficiaries at the time of the contingency, all they can do is redeem the Plan (paying the corresponding IRPF) and then manage it at their convenience.

The Plan Specifications do not permit this. Only the Promoter (CaixaBank) can make contributions to the Plan.

Allowing this would represent a potential reduction in CaixaBank’s obligations insofar as the risk benefits (disability or death) are covered in the first instance with the vested rights of the participant.

If you want to make private contributions to a pension plan, you can use the Associated Collective Plan (type 302), which is managed according to criteria and policies very similar to those of the employment plan.

The specifications of our plan stipulate that vested rights can be transferred to another plan before the age of 60 or from the age of 60 onwards if the transfer is made in order to receive benefits in the event of liquidity due to long-term unemployment; but with the establishment of the benefit advance, liquidity is already available from the plan itself and is not at all necessary, unless financial or other reasons make it advisable.

You can change the account linked to the Plan through CaixaBank Now, consulting your plan: in the ‘Other procedures’ menu you will find an option that will allow you to change the account.

In accordance with the provisions of the Specifications of the Employment Pension Plan, the account associated with the Plan can only be an account at our bank, CaixaBank.