Reform will see a plan unveiled before the end of the year
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty says there will be no discrimination in the new auto-enrolment pension scheme.
Two-thirds of people in the workforce have no provision for a private pension when they retire.
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says a five year plan on reform of the system will be unveiled before the end of the year.
"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 told an IBEC conference on Thursday.
"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.
Minister Regina Doherty told Newstalk Breakfast how it could work.
"What I would like is for it to be all pay brackets, because you can't discriminate somebody that's earning 20,000 to somebody that's earning 40,000.
"But it's always going to be based on a percentage - so whatever percentage that you put in, the employer will put in a percentage and the State will put in a percentage.
"And we have to work out the details as to what that percentage is going to be".