Government to introduce auto-enrolment pension scheme for all workers

The Taoiseach also pledged to outlaw zero-hour contracts

The Taoiseach has announced that all workers will be auto-enrolled into a pension scheme in just over three years time. 

Leo Varadkar used a speech to the employer's group IBEC tonight to announce the centrepiece of an upcoming national pension plan. 

He told the audience that two-thirds of private sector workers in Ireland have no pension, warning that the time bomb must be addressed now. 

“This issue has been long-fingered for too long and now that the economy is recovering strongly we must act decisively and we will publish a five year road-map for pension reform before the end of the year,” he said. 

“This will include introduction of an auto-enrolment pension scheme for private sector workers - two-thirds of whom currently have no occupational pension to supplement their state pension. 

“I anticipate the first payments being made into those new individually held funds by 2021.” 

He said the government would “work closely and consult with employers” in designing the new scheme. 

Mr Varadkar also used the speech to announce upcoming legislation to outlaw zero-hour contracts. 

He said the government’s economic policy was focused on more than the goal of 100% employment - insisting it was focused on employment quality with “well-paying jobs, good conditions, and pension entitlements.” 

“We want to ensure that, in the future, people are able to plan for themselves and their families - confident about where they work and where they live, how they travel and about growing old,” he said.

“The Government will legislate to help employees whose contracts do not reflect the reality of the hours they work and will prohibit so-called zero hour contracts."

He said the legislation would be prioritised in the current Dáil term. 

Reporting from Chris Donoghue ...