Logo

Topic filter

Show results

Results

15 Provisions for pensions and other employee benefits

Defined benefit plans

The Group’s pension obligations are based on direct and indirect pension commitments mainly in Germany, the United States, and Switzerland. Deutsche Telekom’s provisions for pensions are comprised as follows:

millions of €

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Dec. 31, 2020

Defined benefit liability

6,134

7,684

Defined benefit asset

(54)

(19)

Net defined benefit liability (asset)

6,080

7,665

Of which: provisions for direct commitments

5,622

7,042

Of which: provisions for indirect commitments

458

623

Defined benefit liabilities are disclosed under non-current liabilities in the consolidated statement of financial position. The defined benefit asset is recognized under other non-current assets in the consolidated statement of financial position.

The decrease in defined benefit liabilities compared with the prior year was mainly due to the positive trend in the prices of plan assets, as well as discount rate adjustments. Overall, this resulted in an actuarial gain of EUR 1.4 billion from the remeasurement of defined benefit plans.

Calculation of net defined benefit liabilities/assets

millions of €

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Dec. 31, 2020

Present value of the obligations fully or partially funded by plan assets

11,825

12,140

Plan assets at fair value

(7,937)

(6,698)

Defined benefit obligations in excess of plan assets

3,888

5,441

Present value of the unfunded obligations

2,150

2,222

Defined benefit liability (asset) according to IAS 19.63

6,038

7,663

Effect of asset ceiling (according to IAS 19.64)

42

2

Net defined benefit liability (asset)

6,080

7,665

millions of €

 

 

 

2021

2020

Net defined benefit liability (asset) as of January 1

7,665

5,810

Service cost

148

41

Net interest expense (income) on the net defined benefit liability (asset)

89

86

Remeasurement effects

(1,423)

1,358

Pension benefits paid directly by the employer

(378)

(287)

Employer contributions to plan assets

(80)

(61)

Changes attributable to business combinations/transfers of operation/acquisitions and disposals

10

816

Reclassifications to liabilities directly associated with non-current assets and disposal groups held for sale

0

(10)

Administration costs actually incurred (paid from plan assets)

0

0

Exchange rate fluctuations for plans in foreign currency

48

(89)

Net defined benefit liability (asset) as of December 31

6,080

7,665

Key assumptions for the measurement of the defined benefit obligations are the discount rate, the salary increase rate, the pension increase rate, and life expectancy. The following table shows the assumptions on which the measurement of defined benefit obligations as of December 31 of the respective year are based. The assumptions made as of December 31 of the respective prior year are used to measure the expected pension expense (defined benefit cost) of a given financial year. The discount rate as of April 1, 2020 was used for the first-time inclusion of the obligations and to measure the expected pension expense in the United States in 2020.

Assumptions for the measurement of defined benefit obligations

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Dec. 31, 2020

Dec. 31, 2019

Discount rate

Germany

1.18

0.85

1.14

United States

3.05

2.75

n.a.

Switzerland

0.33

0.07

0.29

Salary increase rate

Germany

2.50

2.50

2.50

United Statesa

4.25

4.25

n.a.

Switzerland

1.00

1.00

1.00

Pension increase rate

Germany (general)

1.70

1.50

1.50

Germany (according to articles of association)

1.00

1.00

1.00

United States

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Switzerland

0.10

0.10

0.10

a

The salary increase rate in the United States only has a marginal impact on the amount of the pension obligations, since almost all commitments are frozen.

years

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Dec. 31, 2020

Duration

Germany

12.3

12.9

United States

13.6

14.4

Switzerland

14.9

15.7

The following biometric assumptions were essential for the measurement of pension obligations:

Germany: Heubeck 2018G, Switzerland: BVG 2020 Generational, United States: Pri-2012 tables. In Switzerland, the generally recognized demographic assumptions used when measuring pension obligations were revised as part of a regular review in 2020, and applied for the first time in 2021. This resulted in actuarial gains of EUR 6 million or 2.6 % of the Swiss obligations.

The aforementioned discount rates were used as of December 31, 2021 when calculating the present value of defined benefit obligations, taking into account future salary increases. The rates were determined in line with the average weighted duration of the respective obligation.

The discount rate is determined based on the yields of high-quality corporate bonds with AA rating, mapped in a yield curve showing the corresponding spot rates. The underlying method is routinely reviewed and refined as required (e.g., further development of the bond markets, automation of the availability of corresponding data in terms of quantity and quality).

Development of defined benefit obligations

millions of €

 

 

 

2021

2020

Defined benefit obligations as of January 1

14,362

12,290

Current service cost

235

256

Interest cost

179

183

Remeasurement effects

(421)

663

Of which: experience-based adjustments

15

57

Of which: adjusted financial assumptionsa

(451)

617

Of which: adjusted demographic assumptions

15

(11)

Total benefits actually paid

(483)

(503)

Contributions by plan participants

4

4

Changes attributable to business combinations/transfers of operation/acquisitions and disposals

10

1,925

Past service cost (due to plan amendments/curtailments)b

(87)

(223)

Settlements

0

8

Reclassifications to liabilities directly associated with non-current assets and disposal groups held for sale

0

(10)

Taxes to be paid as part of pensions

0

0

Exchange rate fluctuations for plans in foreign currency

176

(232)

Defined benefit obligations as of December 31

13,975

14,362

Of which: active plan participants

5,596

5,803

Of which: plan participants with vested pension rights who left the Group

2,982

3,099

Of which: benefit recipients

5,397

5,459

a

In addition to the majority discount-rate adjustments, the effect from adjusted financial assumptions also includes adjusted assumptions regarding the payment of VAP pension entitlements, resulting in actuarial losses of EUR 93 million.

b

The past service cost due to plan amendments in 2020 and 2021 relates primarily to a restructuring of risk benefits in Germany (please refer to the following section “Global Pension Policy and description of the plans”).

Distribution of obligations relating to Deutsche Telekom’s most significant plans

millions of €

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Dec. 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Germany

United States

Switzerland

Other plans

Germany

United States

Switzerland

Other plans

Defined benefit obligations

11,316

1,905

230

525

11,763

1,846

235

518

Plan assets at fair value

(6,007)

(1,346)

(271)

(313)

(5,013)

(1,171)

(237)

(278)

Effect of asset ceiling

0

0

42

0

0

0

2

0

Net defined benefit liability (asset)

5,309

559

0

212

6,750

675

0

240

The following comments on the age structure and sensitivity analysis, as well as descriptions of plans and the risks associated with them, relate to the relevant pension obligations (Germany, United States, and Switzerland).

Age structure of plan participants in the most significant pension plans

Age structure of plan participants in the most significant pension plans (bar chart)

Sensitivity analysis for the defined benefit obligations

The following sensitivity analysis describes the effects of possible adjustments in the material actuarial assumptions for measurement on the defined benefit obligations determined as of December 31, 2021. A change in the measurement assumptions to the extent described below, with otherwise unchanged assumptions, would have impacted the defined benefit obligations as of December 31, 2021 as follows:

millions of €

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase (decrease) of the
defined benefit obligations
as of Dec. 31, 2021

Increase (decrease) of the
defined benefit obligations
as of Dec. 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Germany

United States

Switzerland

Germany

United States

Switzerland

Increase of discount rate by 100 basis points

(1,224)

(234)

(25)

(1,291)

(232)

(26)

Decrease of discount rate by 100 basis points

1,499

291

31

1,575

287

34

Increase of salary increase rate by 50 basis points

1

0

1

3

0

1

Decrease of salary increase rate by 50 basis points

0

0

(1)

(2)

0

(1)

Increase of pension increase rate by 25 basis points

5

0

5

6

0

6

Decrease of pension increase rate by 25 basis points

(5)

0

(2)

(6)

0

(2)

Life expectancy increase by 1 year

288

56

6

299

58

6

Life expectancy decrease by 1 year

(288)

(57)

(6)

(298)

(60)

(6)

The sensitivity analysis was carried out separately for the discount rate, the salary increase rate, and the pension increase rate. For this purpose, further actuarial evaluations were made for both the increase and for the decrease of the assumptions. It can be assumed that the life expectancy of the plan members will not change significantly within a year. Nevertheless, the effect of a change in life expectancy on the obligations was additionally determined from a risk perspective. Evaluations were carried out based on the assumption that the life expectancy of the plan members aged 65 would increase or decrease by one year. The life expectancy of the remaining plan members was adjusted accordingly. Variations in the assumed retirement age or turnover rates would only have an immaterial effect, especially in Germany.

Global Pension Policy and description of the plans

Deutsche Telekom manages its pension commitments based on the Group-wide Global Pension Policy. It ensures on a worldwide basis that Group minimum standards regarding the granting and management of company pension benefits are complied with, plans are harmonized, and financial and other risks to the core business are avoided or reduced. In addition, the policy provides guidelines for the implementation and management of pension commitments and defines requirements for the launch, adjustment, and closure of corresponding plans. The regulations and provisions laid down in this Group policy take into account the national differences in state pension and other commitments under labor, tax, and social law and the common business practices in the area of pension commitments.

Defined benefit plans based on final salaries in the Group have largely been replaced by plans with contribution-based promises to minimize the risks involved. In addition, a corporate CTA (Deutsche Telekom Trust e.V.) is used in Germany for additional funding of pension obligations. A CTA is a legally structured trust agreement to cover unfunded pension commitments with plan assets, and to provide greater protection against insolvency for these obligations.

In Germany there are commitments for pension and disability benefits for a majority of employees as well as pension benefits for their surviving dependents. As part of a reorganization of the company pension plan, a capital account plan was introduced across Germany in 1997 for active employees. Furthermore, in subsequent years, commitments acquired through company acquisitions were also transferred to the capital account plan scheme. The capital account plan is an employer-financed, contribution-based benefit promise. The salary-linked contributions granted annually earn interest in advance for each year of provision up to age 60, calculated using age-based factors, converting the contribution into a guaranteed insured amount. The advance interest rate currently stands at 3.50 % p. a. (target interest rate for the capital account plan).

The period for providing contributions is initially limited to ten future contribution years. The contribution period will be extended automatically every year by a further year, unless terminated. The insured amounts accumulated over the period of active service are paid out if an insured event arises, primarily in the form of a lump sum. Hence there is only a limited longevity risk for these commitments. Based on the payment guidelines and the structure of the capital account plan, the employer can plan for this, and there is only a small risk inherent in the plan with regard to the volatility of remuneration dynamics.

In October 2020, Deutsche Telekom and the ver.di trade union had agreed to restructure the collectively agreed risk benefits (death in the active phase and/or disability) in the company pension scheme for employees covered by collective agreements in Germany. Under the previous structure, the pension credit accrued through the capital account plan was paid out in the case of a risk event. The revised rules abolish this in favor of paying out a sum equivalent to an annual target salary of the employee. This provides a better outcome than the previous structure in particular for employees with a shorter length of service with the company. Grandfather clauses have been included for employees who have worked for the company for longer periods and part-time employees. These changes took effect in October 2021. As a result of the change from an annual (pro rata) contribution to payment of a lump sum, the employer will in future grant the risk benefit irrespective of the employee’s length of service with the company. Future risk benefit payments will thus directly be recognized as expenses in the payout year. Provisions recognized according to the previous rules under provisions for pensions and other employee benefits for entitlements after the restructuring takes effect were measured under the new rules using the discount rate at the transition date and reversed through profit or loss in the fourth quarter of 2020. This discount rate was also used to measure the pension expense from the remaining provisions for pensions and other employee benefits for the remainder of the financial year.

In the first quarter of 2021, the risk benefits (death in the active phase and/or disability) for employees not covered by collective agreements in Germany were restructured effective April 1, 2021, as had already been done for employees covered by collective agreements in the fourth quarter of 2020. Provisions recognized according to the previous rules were measured under the new rules using the discount rate at the transition date and reversed through profit or loss in the first quarter of 2021. This discount rate was also used to measure the pension expense from the remaining provisions for pensions and other employee benefits for the remainder of the financial year.

In addition, in Germany there are various closed legacy commitments, which generally provide for old-age and disability benefits as well as benefits for surviving dependents in the form of life-long pensions. The commitments predominantly comprise the overall pension of the supplementary retirement pensions institution (Versorgungsanstalt der Deutschen Bundespost – VAP) that takes into account the statutory pension. Most of the plan members of these commitments are former employees with vested rights and retirees for whom the amount of benefits has already been determined. So the VAP overall pension scheme continues to apply to former employees who were already retired or who had left with vested claims in 1997.

To the extent that defined benefit plans in Germany grant annuities, the future adjustment for these pensions, except for insignificant exceptions, is bindingly defined in the existing benefit regulations. A change in the assumptions for the general pension trend in Germany therefore only has an immaterial impact on the defined benefit obligations.

As a change in life expectancy mainly impacts on the obligations from legacy pension commitments and, since 1997, commitments have been granted in the form of capital, the significance of the risk resulting from the change in life expectancy is expected to decline for the Group over subsequent years.

To cover pension obligations over the long term, Deutsche Telekom has transferred funds to a corporate CTA and a corporate pension fund.

The main pension plans in the United States comprise medical plans, life insurance (for pensioners and active employees) and pension commitments. The commitments have been almost entirely frozen and replaced by contribution plans (401(k) plans) within the meaning of IAS 19 for future vested rights.

The pension commitments in the United States mainly relate to two defined benefit plans: the Sprint Retirement Pension Plan (SRPP) and the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP). The benefit amount under the SRPP is calculated primarily on the basis of 1.5 % of the beneficiary’s total salary up to December 31, 2005. Furthermore, the additional SERP was set up for contributions above the tax exemption limits for the relevant eligible persons. Both plans have been frozen since December 31, 2005, such that plan participants have not been able to earn any more vested rights since that date.

The SRPP is financed through a pension fund within the framework of U.S. regulations. The level of financing of the SRPP is regularly reviewed, with the company paying additional contributions into the pension fund on top of the minimum contributions if necessary, depending on the financing status.

Under the medical plans, the Company grants allowances for medical care after retirement to top up statutory benefits. In addition to the existing pensioners, there is a group of active employees who are near retirement, who can also access benefits from these plans.

Under the life insurance policies, the Company pays a benefit in the event of the death of a pensioner (basic coverage for pensioners prior to 2004) of 50 % of the final allowable income drawn (taking into account a cap for the maximum amount payable) as well as other coverage for a small group of employees who are still active.

In addition, the Company grants defined benefit plans for individuals abroad. The majority of these benefits comprise benefits prescribed by law in the respective countries or benefits under the FAP (Financial Accumulation Plan – a capital account plan). Almost all of these individual commitments have likewise been frozen.

Under the company pension system in Switzerland, a defined benefit plan is in place that is financed by employer and employee contributions (within the meaning of IAS 19). This plan is granted by the legally independent T‑Systems pension fund. As is often the case in Switzerland, the companies grant higher benefits than legally required. The Swiss Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Surviving Dependants’ and Disability Pension (Bundesgesetz über die berufliche Alters-, Hinterlassenen- und Invalidenvorsorge – BVG) sets out minimum requirements for the pay to be insured, the age-based contributions, and a minimum annuity factor for the obligatory portion of the accrued retirement assets to be annuitized. In addition, the Swiss Federal Council defines a minimum interest rate for the obligatory retirement assets (2022: 1.00 %, 2021: 1.00 %).

The foundation board (Stiftungsrat) presides over the Swiss pension fund. It ensures the day-to-day running of the pension fund and decides on fundamental aspects, such as the amount and the structure of the pension benefits and the asset investment strategy. The foundation board is equally composed of employer and employees’ representatives.

Due to the minimum yield for the obligatory retirement assets, a risk exists for the plans in Switzerland that additional resources would have to be allocated to the pension fund if it were to be underfinanced. The pension fund offers the plan members the option to choose a life-long pension instead of a one-time payment. This option gives rise to longevity and investment risks, since at the time of retirement, assumptions must be made regarding life expectancy and return on assets. As of January 1, 2018, T‑Systems Schweiz decided to apply the risk-sharing method when measuring its pension obligations. The measurement of obligations was changed such that employee participation in funding a possible deficit can be taken into account when measuring the employer’s obligation. The general option for employee participation in funding a deficit is covered by Art. 28 of the pension regulations.

Development of plan assets at fair value

millions of €

 

 

 

2021

2020

Plan assets at fair value as of January 1

6,698

6,489

Changes attributable to business combinations/transfers of operation/acquisitions and disposals

0

1,108

Interest income on plan assets (calculated using the discount rate)

90

98

Amount by which the actual return exceeds (falls short of) the interest income on plan assets (remeasurement)

1,040

(702)

Contributions by employer

80

61

Contributions by plan participants

4

4

Benefits actually paid from plan assets

(105)

(217)

Settlements

0

0

Administration costs

0

0

Tax payments

0

0

Exchange rate fluctuations for plans in foreign currency

130

(143)

Plan assets at fair value as of December 31

7,937

6,698

Breakdown of plan assets at fair value by investment category

millions of €

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 31, 2021

Of which: price in an active market

Of which: price without an active market

Dec. 31, 2020

Of which: price in an active market

Of which: price without an active market

Equity securities

5,346

5,346

0

4,264

4,264

0

Of which: shares in BT

2,414

2,414

0

1,762

1,762

0

Debt securities

2,030

2,030

0

1,853

1,853

0

Real estate

85

13

72

102

38

64

Derivatives

2

2

0

0

0

0

Investment funds

40

40

0

14

14

0

Asset-backed securities

0

0

0

0

0

0

Structured debt instruments

1

1

0

0

0

0

Cash and cash equivalents

64

64

0

43

43

0

Other

370

328

43

422

378

45

Plan assets at fair value

7,937

7,823

115

6,698

6,590

109

The investment policy and risk management is set in line with the risk and development characteristics of the pension obligations. On the basis of a systematic, integrated asset/liability management analysis, potential results from different investment portfolios, which can cover a large number of asset classes, are compared with the stochastically simulated development of the pension obligations, thereby explicitly considering the relative development of plan assets against the pension obligations. The investment strategy is mainly characterized by the objective of satisfying future obligations from granted pension commitments on time by systematically setting up and professionally managing a suitable portfolio for the plan assets. It essentially aims to establish a widely diversified investment portfolio that generates a risk profile appropriate to the overall objective, by means of corresponding risk factors and diversification. The management of investments is subject to continuous monitoring to ensure active risk management. Cost-efficient investment management is effected by means of professional portfolio management involving external service providers.

At the reporting date, the plan assets at fair value included shares amounting to EUR 5 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 5 million) and bonds amounting to EUR 10 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 8 million) issued by Deutsche Telekom AG and its subsidiaries.

Development of the effect of the asset ceiling

millions of €

 

 

 

2021

2020

Effect of asset ceiling as of January 1

2

9

Interest expense on asset ceiling (recognized in the income statement)

0

0

Changes in asset ceiling ((gains) losses recognized in equity)

38

(7)

Currency gain (loss)

2

0

Effect of asset ceiling as of December 31

42

2

Breakdown of defined benefit costs in the income statement

millions of €

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure in income statement

2021

2020

2019

Current service cost

Personnel costs

235

256

250

Past service cost (due to plan amendments/curtailments)

Personnel costs

(87)

(223)

(8)

Settlements

Personnel costs

0

8

3

Service cost

 

148

41

245

Interest cost

Other financial income (expense)

179

183

186

Interest income on plan assets (calculated using the discount rate)

Other financial income (expense)

(90)

(98)

(99)

Interest expense on the effect of the asset ceiling

Other financial income (expense)

0

0

0

Net interest expense (income) on net defined benefit liability (asset)

 

89

86

87

Defined benefit cost

 

237

126

332

Administration costs actually incurred (paid from plan assets)

Personnel costs

0

0

0

Total amounts recognized in profit or loss

 

237

126

332

Amounts recognized in the consolidated statement of comprehensive income

millions of €

 

 

 

 

2021

2020

2019

Remeasurement ((gain) loss recognized in other comprehensive income in the financial year)

(1,423)

1,358

603

Of which: remeasurement due to a change in defined benefit obligations

(421)

663

656

Of which: remeasurement due to a change in plan assets

(1,040)

702

(62)

Of which: remeasurement due to changes in the effect of asset ceiling (according to IAS 19.64)

38

(7)

9

Total benefit payments expected

millions of €

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

Benefits paid from pension provisions

301

531

581

652

596

Benefits paid from plan assets

182

106

109

110

113

Total benefits expected

483

637

690

762

709

Since 2018, benefit payments for direct pension commitments have also been funded using CTA assets. Furthermore, Deutsche Telekom reserves the right to claim reimbursement from CTA assets in the following year, as required, for payments made directly by the employer. The last time this happened was in 2018.

For 2022, Deutsche Telekom does not plan any allocations to plan assets at fair value in Germany. Deutsche Telekom is planning an international allocation of at least EUR 43 million in 2022.

Defined contribution plans

The employer’s contribution paid to the statutory pension scheme (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) in Germany in the 2021 financial year totaled EUR 0.4 billion (2020: EUR 0.4 billion, 2019: EUR 0.4 billion). Group-wide, EUR 191 million (2020: EUR 164 million, 2019: EUR 145 million) from current contributions for additional defined contribution plans was recognized in the consolidated income statement in 2021.

Civil-servant retirement arrangements at Deutsche Telekom

An expense of EUR 343 million was recognized in the 2021 financial year (2020: EUR 374 million, 2019: EUR 405 million) for the annual contribution to the Civil Service Pension Fund, which generally amounts to 33 % of the pensionable gross emoluments of active civil servants and the notional pensionable gross emoluments of civil servants on leave of absence. The present value of future payment obligations was EUR 1.1 billion as of the reporting date (December 31, 2020: EUR 1.8 billion, December 31, 2019: EUR 2.1 billion) and is shown under other financial obligations.

For further information, please refer to Note 39 “Other financial obligations.”