African Press International (API)

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Penalized for rearing children

Posted by African Press International on August 8, 2008

Else Johansen is 66 years old and has taken care of five children while working part-time. She is shocked to discover that she barely gets more than the minimum state pension when she retires.

Else Johansen is shocked by the size of the pension she gets after rearing five children and working for 47 years.


“I’ve had five children and I’ve brought them up. I began to work in 1961. I was deeply shocked when I found out that I’d be getting little more than a minimum pension,” she says to daily newspaper Aftenposten.

Pension experts are only too aware that this is what can happen. “Women who work part-time and spend time at home when they have young children end up with a small pension,” says Kirsten Folger, who works for the Labour and Welfare Administration.

“How can this be right? I moved around with my husband, took charge of the children and I’ve worked almost as many years as him. In spite of this he gets a very good pension, whereas I barely get more than someone who has never worked,” says Johansen.

Vibeke Holsen, who works for Vital Insurance, explains why the couple ends up with very different pensions.

“Your employers havent had pension schemes like those of your husband. Even though youve worked for many years, too few of them have been full-time to give additional income from the state pension system,” she says.

She warns women that they need to aware of the consequences if they choose to continue part-time after the youngest child starts school.

“I had dreams of using a good pension to travel and enjoy myself. Instead I have to work until Im 68; maybe longer, in order to increase my pension just a little,” says Johansen.



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