Auto-enrolment pension 'will increase inequality'
Government plans to bring in a universal pension for all workers will widen the gender pensions gap, the National Women's Council says.
It was reacting to a new report showing men typically earn €600 more in pension income a month than women, because women tend to opt out of the workforce to perform caring functions.
A study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that retired women receive €153 less a week in pensions than their male counterparts.
The Women's Council reacted, saying the Government's plans to introduce an auto-enrolment pension will make the situation worse.
The Government has committed to the scheme by 2022, some 15 years after the concept was first mooted.
Under the current proposals, employee savings in the scheme will be supported by employer and State contributions. It is proposed that employees between the ages of 23 and 60 will be auto-enrolled.
Director of the National Women's Council Orla O'Connor said the ESRI report on the gender pensions gap raised important issues about inequality.
"This report raises once again serious questions in relation to the Government's reform of our pension system, which focuses mainly on increasing enrolment into private pensions," she said.
"This approach does nothing to address the inherent gender differences in terms of employment history and is likely to further increase rather than reduce gender inequalities in relation to the old age pension."