I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 39 together.
I had assumed the Deputy had mixed up total contributions with automatic enrolment because the changes to total contributions is due in quarter 3 of 2020 and automatic enrolment is due in quarter 1 of 2022.
The Deputies will know from the CSO's latest figures for the third quarter of 2018 that the rate of supplementary pension coverage in Ireland is far too low at only 47% of the working population and that reduces to 35% when one takes out the public sector, which does not have any choice apparently. Therefore, if measures are not taken to address this issue, many future retirees will experience a massive cliff and a reduction in their living standards, which none of us want.
It is accepted that by international standards, a 2022 delivery for automatic enrolment is very ambitious given the level of design work to be done, the complexity of legislation that this House will have to pass and the organisational and procurement arrangements to be implemented. Nevertheless, given the low level of occupational pension coverage, the view of the Government, which I hope the Deputies share, is that an ambitious timeframe is appropriate and we will continue to work towards the 2022 commencement target.
Automatic enrolment will see a transition from the current and purely voluntary system to one which will, subject to certain parameters, automatically enrol employees into a quality-assured retirement savings system. The saver will maintain the freedom of choice to opt out.
An extensive national public consultation process on automatic enrolment finished earlier this year. A Strawman Public Consultation Process for an Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System in Ireland was launched in August 2018 as the basis for the consultation. It set out a plausible approach to the design of an automatic enrolment system for Ireland, with the intention of generating discussion and, hopefully, improving the original ideas we had. I chaired a series of consultation seminars around the country, in Dublin, Galway and Cork. In March, my Department and the Pensions Authority held a series of focus groups with the target population intended for automatic enrolment. My officials continue to regularly meet various stakeholders and representative groupings, of which there are many, as the Deputies well know.
The Department has completed the analysis of the substantial material collated from the consultation process, in order to determine how the feedback received may assist with the design process. The ESRI has completed research we commissioned on the economic impacts of introducing automatic enrolment. My Department is continuing its research and consultation with experts from around the world to further build the evidence base in a number of specific areas over the coming months. I recently updated the Cabinet committee on the economy on progress with the design of the automatic enrolment system, including an overview of findings from the consultation process and the ESRI's macroeconomic impact assessment. A report on all the progress to date on the matter will be brought to Government for consideration in the coming weeks to facilitate the next steps for implementation of the scheme in 2022, as planned.