Pension calculation and management of the Belgian National Railway’s statutory staff

general assembly on March 18, 2020

The Belgian Court of Audit examined whether HR-Rail – the employer of the Belgian National Railway’s workers – correctly reported the career-related data of its statutory staff to the Federal Pension Department (FPD). It also considered whether pensions have been correctly calculated and managed by the FPD according to the received data. As HR-Rail does not sufficiently retain the original career-related documents in its staff records, neither the FPD nor the Court of Audit can verify the accuracy of the reporting in Capelo (the electronic database of civil servants’ career-related data). As a consequence, the risk for error increases when calculating pension rights and the pension amount. The historical career-related data were entered in the database three and a half years before the legal time limit (end of 2021). Overall, HR-Rail has developed a wide-ranging mastery of the pension-related questions as part of staff management: it makes, by far, fewer errors than other public departments. The FPD has correctly integrated the specific regulation applicable to the Belgian National Railway’s statutory staff (which differs from the rules applicable to the other civil servants) in the calculation and management software. However, in most cases, it is not possible for the calculation programme Pencalc to make correct calculations in a pension record from the data entered in Capelo without manual intervention. The Court of Audit concluded that task division between HR-Rail (pension calculation and management) and the FPD (pension payment) is not efficient in all areas and that some significant differences between the regulations applicable to the Belgian National Railway’s statutory staff and those applicable to the other civil servants should be erased.