Social Protection Committee publishes Review of State Pension (Contributory)

The Joint Committee on Social Protection has today published Review of the State Pension (Contributory).

14 July 2017

The Committee held meetings on 4 May 2017 with Age Action Ireland and on 29 June 2017 with the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Congress and Active Retirement Ireland.

Some of the main recommendations made by the Committee include:

• The Joint Committee is of the view that the current averaging system is inequitable and a new type of contribution system should be devised. The Joint Committee notes that the Minister is considering the introduction of a Total Contribution System to replace the averaging system. However, the Joint Committee believes that proposals should be developed for a universal pension payment to replace the State Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory).

• The Joint Committee considers that the 2012 changes - specifically, the increase in the number of bands and the doubling of the minimum number of required contributions  are demonstrably inequitable and have had a disproportionate negative impact on women, and should be suspended immediately

• The Joint Committee recognises that pension recipients deserve to have a feeling of stability and security about their incomes, and urges the introduction of some form of indexation of pension rates.Committee Chair, John Curran TD, said, “As people benefit from greater longevity, the ratio between those of working age continues to alter, from five to one in the 2011 census and projected to fall to half that by 2050. This creates pressure on the existing pension system. There are also current consequences of historic inequity, such as the impact of the marriage bar on the contribution records of affected women.”  

“Early on in our meetings, the Committee identified issues around the State Pension as being of significant importance and deserving of the attention of the Committee. As such, we initiated a series of hearings with relevant stakeholders and we have now published a comprehensive review of the State Pension (Contributory).”

“Committee members were united in the assertion that more work must be done to ensure a sustainable and fair State Pension. The Joint Committee considers that mandatory retirement age should be abolished. No employee should be contractually obliged to retire based on age if they are willing and able to remain at work. We are recommending that the Minister review the disparity between retirement age and pension age and that the gender disparity that exists in pension income is addressed as a matter of urgency.”

“We have sent our review to the Minister for Employment and Social Protection and it is our hope that she considers carefully our recommendations in future policy development and the drafting of the upcoming budget.”

Read the Review here.


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Committee Membership:

Chairperson: John Curran TD (Fianna Fáil)

TDs

Maria Bailey (Fine Gael)
John Brady (Sinn Féin)
Joe Carey (Fine Gael)
Joan Collins  (Independents4Change)
Gino Kenny (Solidarity – People Before Profit)
Willie O’Dea (Fianna Fáil)

Senators

Catherine Ardagh  (Fianna Fáil)
Ray Butler (Fine Gael)
Alice Mary Higgins (Independent)
Kevin Humphreys  (Labour)