Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Schemes

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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106. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the auto enrolment pension scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59655/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Programme for Government commits to introducing a pension auto-enrolment system.  The objective of this commitment is to address the low proportion of employees in Ireland with supplementary pension cover, which includes both occupational and personal pensions.

According to CSO figures, the rate of supplementary pension coverage is around 55% of the working population (Pension Coverage Survey 2020).  It is estimated that this reduces to less than 35% when the private sector is considered in isolation.  As a consequence of this low supplementary pension coverage rate, many retirees may suffer an unwanted reduction in living standards when they retire.

This Government, recognising the exceptional strain that both employers and employees are now under as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, will seek to gradually deliver an AE system, based on the following principles:

- There will be a phased roll-out, over a decade, of the contribution made by workers.

- Matching contributions will be made by both workers and employers and the State will top up contributions.

- There will be an opt-out provision for those who choose to opt out.

- Workers will have a range of retirement savings products to choose from.

- There will be a charges cap imposed on pension providers.

My Department is currently working on finalising a proposal for Government on the overall design of the AE system.  As set out in the Economic Recovery Plan 2021, it is hoped that the design can be completed by the end of this year.  Thereafter, it is intended that the necessary legislative, organisational and process structures will follow over the course of 2022 and 2023.

In progressing this work, the Department is receiving technical support from the European Commission’s DG Reform which assists EU member states implementing administrative and institutional reforms.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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