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Major Changes to Ireland’s Pension System Only Months Away.

10 July 2024

A new pension auto-enrolment system is due to come into effect in Ireland at the start of 2025. The system is designed to address the problem of declining and inadequate long-term retirement savings by ensuring employees automatically join the scheme.

While the government has provided a good deal of information on how auto-enrolment will work, several details still need to be confirmed – and there is also some uncertainty around whether the systems needed to implement the scheme will be in place in time for the January 2025 deadline.

How the auto-enrolment regime will operate

According to legislation, that passed both Houses of the Oireachtas last week just before the Dáil summer recess, around 800,000 employees, between the ages of 23 and 60, who earn at least €20,000 a year and who are not already members of a workplace pension, will be automatically enrolled in a new scheme from January 1, 2025.

Both employees and employers will contribute a certain percentage of the employee’s gross income to the scheme. This percentage will gradually rise over the first 10 years of membership, from 1.5% each in years one to three to 6% each in year 10. Additional top-ups will be made by the state.

Eligible employees will, at first, be opted into an auto-enrolment pension scheme for six months, after which they can choose to opt out if they wish. Anyone who does decide to opt out after the initial six-month period will be automatically re-enrolled two years later.

Possible further delays

Auto-enrolment is being introduced to address the fact that aside from a potential State Pension entitlement, a large percentage of private-sector workers in Ireland currently have no other form of retirement savings.

It is possible that the rules around auto-enrolment could be amended in the months ahead, and even that the scheme – which was originally due to start January 1st – may face further delays.

This uncertainty means it is even more important to stay in contact with your client manager over the coming months.

Unio Employee Benefits is holding a webinar on Monday next, July 15th from 10 to 10:30am to update employers on the imminent introduction of the new legislation: Preparing for Auto-Enrolment in Ireland: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers. Register here

If you have any queries on roll out of Auto Enrolment in general or how the system will affect your company schemes, do get in touch with your client manger and they will work with you to put a plan in place.  Contact your client manager directly or get in touch at queries@unio.ie.

Further reading: Historic Automatic Enrolment Legislation passed by Dáil, Department of Social Protection, 4 July 2024