There are currently two directives relating to my Department which are for transposition into Irish law. They are Council Directive 98/49/EC on the safeguarding of the supplementary pension rights of employed and self-employed persons moving within the European Community, which was adopted on 29 June 2000, providing for equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.
Directive 98/49/EC primarily deals with the preservation of benefits, disclosure of information and payment of occupational pensions across borders for workers who move from one member state to another. It also provides for workers who are posted abroad to be allowed to stay in their occupational schemes and to be exempt from joining such a scheme in the country to which they are posted.
Member states are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative arrangements necessary to comply with the directive not later than 25 July 2001.
To comply with the terms of the directive, an amendment to the pensions Act is necessary. This amendment will be incorporated into the new pensions Bill, which I expect to publish by early next year.
Council directive 2000/43/EC was adopted on 29 June 2000. This directive relates to implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. The purpose of the directive is to allow the participation of all persons, natural and legal, in society regardless of racial or ethnic origin. While primary responsibility for its implementation rests with my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the scope of the directive does include social security. Any necessary changes in the social welfare system arising out of this directive will be implemented not later than 19 July 2003, the deadline for compliance with the directive.