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P&O Highlight: older employees can work less with Generation Plan Scheme

‘Practising with leisure time before you hit retirement’

 ‘It is one of the fine employment conditions that NWO-I offers its employees’, says Joost Weber, policy adviser P&O at the NWO-I office. He is talking about the Generation Plan Scheme, which he also participates in himself. Via this plan, older employees have the opportunity to work less as they approach retirement. On his last working day before he retires, Weber tells the editor of Inside NWO-I how this plan has benefitted him.

The Generation Plan is a scheme from the Collective Labour Agreement Research Institutes (CAO-OI) and applies to employees who are five years or less from their state pension age. Since 1 July 2018, the scheme has made it possible to take special leave with (partial) retention of your salary and with full pension accrual. Thanks to the scheme, employees can continue to work in a healthy and vital manner until they reach the state pension age.

Interim step towards the pension

Joost Weber started with the Generation Plan Scheme two years ago. Initially, he did have some doubts. ‘It’s a fantastic scheme; after all, you’re paid more than the actual hours you work. So, I found it very tempting. However, what would the work-life balance be like in practice? I decided to make use of the scheme nevertheless, and with that, I effectively took my first step towards retirement’, recounts Weber. ‘It meant I went from a five-day working week to a three-day working week. It gave me the chance to practice with having more leisure time before I retired. From a full-time job to no job at all is a big step. Instead, I was able to take a pleasant interim step.’

Reallocation of work

If you take part in the Generation Plan Scheme, then you make agreements with your line manager about which activities will still be carried out during the period of special leave, and how to transfer activities that you no longer undertake to others. Such agreements must ensure that neither the employee who participates in the scheme nor his or her direct colleagues will become overburdened by an irresponsible increase in work pressure. Weber explains: ‘The initial transition from working 100% to 60% definitely took some getting used to. Not just for me, but also, I think, for the organisation. Unsurprisingly, it took some time to organise a replacement who could take things over from me. And it is also not the case that the work decreases by 40% from one day to the next. Once the replacement had been arranged, I could genuinely benefit from the scheme.’

More favourable conditions of employment

‘I consider the Generation Plan Scheme to be one of our conditions of employment that allows us to keep employees deployable for as long as possible’, says Weber, who has completed 42 years of service at NWO-I. Realising that he is speaking as a P&O representative, he is very pleased about the employment conditions that the organisation offers in this area. ‘During my entire career, first at FOM (1 January 2017, FOM became part of NWO-I, Ed.) I have really benefited a lot from the possibilities to continue developing and to be able to strike a healthy work-life balance. For example, I could take very flexible parental leave for both of my children. Because my wife is a nurse and therefore has irregular hours, that flexible leave meant we could make perfect arrangements to combine working and caring for our children. I also had plenty of opportunities for personal development and to follow courses. In 1990, I switched from being a technician at Nikhef to a P&O position at the FOM office and did a degree in human resources that was facilitated by FOM. And later, when I was about 50, I did a career development trajectory to find out how I could best be deployed during the years until my pension. This revealed that although I was in the right place, a further development to acquire more expertise could contribute to my employability in the long term. In line with this, the employer allowed me to complete a Master’s in Business Administration at Radboud University. As a result of this, I was able to develop myself even more professionally and became deputy head of P&O. All of these employment conditions, including the Generation Plan Scheme, have certainly made it possible for me to reach my pension in a healthy and very motivated manner.’


Weber will officially retire with effect from 24 August 2021. However, he already stopped working on 1 June, and he took leave from his colleagues at the NWO-I office then. Weber is happy and in good spirits, and it does not sound as if he will end up in a rut. ‘Fortunately, I have enough hobbies. I play the violin and viola, and I’ve played in an orchestra for some time, although the orchestra has been on hold during the coronavirus crisis. I’m also a keen photographer, and I enjoy reading and watching films. My wife has not yet reached retirement, and I want to use my time well. I’m thinking about following courses and doing voluntary work.’

Extra information about the Generation Plan Scheme

Conditions for taking part
An important condition is that the employee – on the date on which participation in the Generation Plan Scheme starts – has had a contract of at least five years with one of the employers from the research institutions sector (including NWO-I). Also, the employee must be five years or less from the state pension age and have no excess leave. Other conditions can be found in the Collective Labour Agreement Research Institutions (CAO-OI).

Based on the CAO-OI, the participant is granted special leave with a partial retention of salary. For the special leave granted, the participant receives 50% of the salary, but the percentage of special leave may not exceed 40% of the work time. For employees with a part-time position, the leave is granted on a proportionate basis. The pension accrual and the allocation across the employer and employee of the pension premium payments do not change as a consequence of participating in the scheme. During participation in the scheme, holiday leave is built up in accordance with the remaining working hours. The activities of the participant are modified in line with the changed working hours.

Find out more
Would you like to know more about the Generation Plan Scheme? Then please see the CAO-OI 2021, Annex 5 Generation Plan Scheme. Or contact your P&O adviser.

Text: Melissa Vianen
Newsletter Inside NWO-I July 2021

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