Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pension Transferability.


asked the Minister for Labour if and when he commissioned a study on pension transferability in accordance with paragraph 4.30 (ii) of the White Paper on Industrial Policy; the outcome thereof; and if it has been published.

The question of pension transferability, in the context of job mobility, was the subject of a study carried out in July 1984 by a firm of consultants at the behest of the then Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism. A survey carried out at the time by the consultants involved did not show any significant impediment to job mobility as a consequence of the absence of transferability of pensions between occupational superannuation funds.

In 1985 the Economic and Social Research Institute conducted a national survey of occupational pension schemes.

In February 1986 the Government appointed the National Pensions Board whose terms of reference required them to submit to the Minister for Social Welfare detailed proposals as to the priority requirements for regulation of occupational pension schemes including, inter alia, transferability of pension entitlements. The board submitted their report which was published in April 1987.

Following detailed consultations with the various interests involved, I understand that my colleague, the Minister for Social Welfare, will be bringing forward proposals shortly based on the board's recommendations. In the circumstances it was felt that there was little to be gained from the commissioning of an expert study, such as that envisaged in the White Paper on Industrial Policy.

I am keeping the matter under review.

I must declare my interest in this. I refer to the question of people who serve in this House who are excluded from transferring pension rights at the moment. If one is a former employee of the State one cannot transfer one's pension rights at the moment.

I may have a vested interest as well. Those issues will arise when the Minister brings forward his legislation. It is with issues like that that difficulty arises for people who at a relatively young age pay superannuation contributions to private insurance companies because when they change jobs they lose all their rights. That is the issue.

The question is broader and we will be discussing it at a later stage. I have in mind people who are interested in entering politics and have spent maybe ten or 15 years in jobs prior to this. Such people are debarred from transferring their pensions and they might be only four or five years here. These people should be kept in mind.