Thursday 24 August 2017

Half of workers have no access to pension

The research commissioned by Irish Life found only one in two people know how much their employer contributes to the pension scheme. Stock Image
The research commissioned by Irish Life found only one in two people know how much their employer contributes to the pension scheme. Stock Image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Only half of working adults say they have access to a company pension plan.

And ignorance about the benefits of saving for a pension is partly to blame for the low take-up of retirement schemes in the private sector.

Almost three out of four workers in the private sector have no pension, other than the State contributory pension.

The research commissioned by Irish Life found only one in two people know how much their employer contributes to the pension scheme.

The research comes as the Government has reiterated its commitment to putting a new pension scheme in place for private sector workers who have no private retirement plan.

The looming pensions crisis led Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to suggest a new savings scheme to get workers to pay into their own fund.

Special savings incentive accounts (SSIAs) proved massively popular when they were introduced at the beginning of the century. They featured a State-provided top-up of 25pc of the sum deposited.

The Irish Life-commissioned research found that only 46pc of working adults stated that there is a company pension plan available for them at work.

Savings

Employers are obliged to provide access to a company pension scheme or personal retirement savings account (PRSA), but are not obliged to contribute to the pension.

A survey by iReach for Irish Life found that more than three quarters of workers pay into such a scheme if one exists. However, almost half of those who do make savings into group pension plans have no idea how much their employer pays.

Just 54pc of workers know that saving into a pension is a tax efficient way to save for the future. Irish Life said this showed a lack of awareness among Ireland's workforce.

However, those 55 years and older are more aware of the tax benefits.

Despite this, pension plans that employers contribute to are the second highest valued workplace benefits for employees, after health insurance.

Managing director of Irish Life Corporate Business Tony Lawless said it was a concern people know so little about pensions. "Worryingly, many people still don't understand the tax breaks available on pension savings and more than half of those working say they do not have a group pension available to them," he said.

Irish Independent

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