NYCI recognises the need to address the inadequacy of current pension provision among workers, especially younger workers. The recent OECD review of Irish pension policy found that only 13.1% of young workers aged 20-24 years had a pension, rising to 38.8% among those aged 25-34 years. We note that the current Government are examining the introduction of an auto-enrolment system whereby workers would be automatically enrolled in a pension plan, but would have the right to opt out for a designated period. One model is the New Zealand Kiwi Saver system, where employers must enrol new employees into the scheme and individuals have two months to opt out. The minimum contribution is 2%, which is deducted from employee earnings, and an employer contribution of 2% of salary is added. The New Zealand government also fully matches employee contributions up to NZD 10 per week, and “kick-starts” each individual account with NZD 1 000.
While we support increasing pension coverage, it is vital that any new policy takes into account the reality that many young workers are on low wages and in precarious employment. There should be strong consumer protection to ensure young workers are aware of their rights to withdraw and not subject to exorbitant fees and charges. As in New Zealand, both employers and the state should also make a contribution.
OECD Reviews of Pensions Systems: Ireland, 2014.
Government package of measures aimed at widening pension coverage and improving consumer confidence in pension system