Employees may pay a maximum of 12 percent of their gross annual salary into a life course savings account, up to a maximum of 210 percent of their annual salary. Banks, insurance companies and pension fund subsidiaries offer both savings and investment options. For investment accounts, there is the risk that the balance of the account will be worth less than the amount deposited if the stock market performs disappointingly.
The life course scheme is intended as a savings account to finance a future period of unpaid leave. This leave may be used to care for children, or for relatives who are ill, for a sabbatical period, study leave or to retire early. The government hopes the scheme will help employees to combine work and their private lives.
Employees who participate in the life course savings scheme may not also participate in the company savings scheme. They may choose anew between the two schemes each year.