Guidelines Good for Workers Who Want to Stay after 65 - Pension Age Forces Many to Work Longer

30 Apr 2018

pension

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said that the publication of new guidelines on retirement age and & fixed-term contracts was “good news for those workers willing and able to work beyond the traditional retirement age,” but said it remained concerned “at the growing number of workers financially compelled to work beyond 65 years as a result of increases in the State pension age.”

The Retirement & Fixed-Term Contract Guidelines was produced by the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (IHREC).

Congress General Secretary Patricia King said it was also important to note “that these guidelines do not replace the relevant statutory code of practice, including the Workplace Relations Commission’s Code of Practice on Longer Working.”

Ms King pointed out that “in 2014, the pension age increased to 66 years. It is set to rise to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028, with a further potential increase earmarked for 2035. There was no public engagement or consultation with worker representatives on the implications of these increases to the pension age. Instead, the Government unilaterally legislated for the changes.

“Workers retiring at 65 must now claim Jobseeker’s Benefit.

“With effect from  March 22, the Jobseeker’s Benefit payment rate is €45.30 per week or €2,355.60 per annum less than a contributory pension. In addition, entitlement to the Household Benefits Package and Free Travel is pushed out in line with the pension age. This drop in income will most severely impact the vast number of people with no secondary pension and those ineligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance. 

“While increases in the pension age are taking place in many countries, Ireland is currently on course to have the highest State pension age in the OECD in 2028. Yet, our population is among the youngest,” Ms King said.

She said that in the upcoming public consultation on reform of the contributory pension, Congress will be calling on Government to reverse its decision to implement increases to the pension age and to commit to an engagement with the trade union movement on steps to address the challenges of population ageing and the financial sustainability of the pension system.