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Thousands may lose out as experts believe pandemic will delay pension plan


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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

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(Stock photo)

A majority of pension industry experts expect the planned move to provide a scheme for thousands of workers to be further delayed.

Auto-enrolment is due to be put in place from 2022, but a survey of pensions professionals by business law firm Mason Hayes and Curran indicates that 66pc of them doubt the latest deadline will be met.

Plans for auto-enrolment pensions have been dogged by delays.

It has been proposed for two decades now.

Around one million workers have no supplementary pension plan and will have to depend on the State contributory pension when they retire.

The post-Covid-19 Pensions survey carried out among more than 100 pension industry professional found there is large-scale scepticism that the planned auto-enrolment scheme will be rolled out in 2022.

Some 66pc of respondents believe it will be delayed by a number of years, and 20pc believe it will be mothballed completely.

Head of pensions at Mason Hayes and Curran Stephen Gillick said: "The existing plan for auto-enrolment was certainly a step in the right direction in terms of increasing the number of people saving for retirement, but it may not survive the ongoing economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis."

Under the plans for auto-enrolment, workers who do not have a private or works pension will be enrolled into a State-backed one.

The scheme will see workers contributing up to 6pc of their wages, with that amount matched by employers.

The State will contribute €1 for every €3 put in by employees.

It will initially apply to 410,000 workers.

A spokesperson for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said its automatic enrolment programme management office is operating in line with commitments in the Roadmap for Pensions Reform.

The department noted that the April 2020 framework document published by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael includes the intention to "introduce a pension auto-enrolment system".

Irish Independent