Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Pensions Legislation

Photo of Seán HaugheySeán Haughey (Dublin Bay North, Fianna Fail)
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1161. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to reduce the age at which the State pension can be paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3302/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Increasing pension age, to moderate the increase in pension duration, is a means by which pensions can be made sustainable in the context of increasing longevity.  In order to provide for sustainable pensions and to facilitate a longer working life, legislation passed in 2011 provides for an increase in the State pension age in three separate stages.  In 2014, the State pension age was standardised at 66.  This will be increased to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028.  The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 has stated that any future changes in State pension age after 2035 will be based on research into life expectancy.

There is no legally mandated retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers.  While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement date of 65, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment for one or more years, if both parties wish to do so.  In this regard, the Workplace Relations Commission has produced a Code of Practice on Longer Working and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has published guidance material for employers on the use of fixed-term contracts beyond normal retirement age.  People are living longer and healthier lives.  Many of them may want to continue working after 65 and these resources can facilitate them in their choice.

In most cases, it is hoped that workers will continue to work up to State pension age.  Where this is not possible, there are specific measures which apply to someone claiming Jobseeker’s Benefit from a date after their 65th birthday.  Where qualified, these recipients may continue to be eligible for that payment until reaching pension age. 

Any changes would require Government consideration and approval.

I hope this clarifies matters for the Deputy.


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