CSO pensions survey of workers reaffirms the case for Auto-enrolment - ICTU

23 Apr 2019

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CSO figures released today on pensions coverage show less than half (47.1 per cent) of workers are saving towards their retirement through an occupational or private pension.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions social policy officer Dr. Laura Bambrick said: “Congress has been to the fore in highlighting the serious need for radical reform in the area of supplementary pension provision.

“Current pension policy has failed to encouraged low and middle-income earners to save enough towards a financially secure retirement, and there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide or contribute to a pension scheme for employees.

“As the State pension is paid at a flat-rate, rather than earnings-related, workers without retirement savings are exposed to a significant drop in their living standards in old age.”

In February of last year, government published an ambitious five-year plan for pension reform. One of the Roadmap’s strands focuses exclusively on improving pension coverage through the introduction of a system of auto-enrolment.

Dr Bambrick said: “To address the lack of adequate pension provision and the unwillingness of employers to contribute to their workers’ income in old age, Government plans to follow international best practice for boosting pension coverage by legally requiring employers to automatically include their staff into a retirement savings scheme by 2022”.

Congress general secretary Patricia King added: “Congress agrees in principle with the introduction of auto-enrolment as a means of increasing pension coverage, income adequacy for retirees, and employer responsibility to contribute to their employees’ retirement savings.

“Today’s figures from the CSO reaffirms the already strong case for auto-enrolment and Congress is calling on Government to ensure that it meets the ambitious deadlines the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection agreed for its introduction.”