Plans for auto-enrolment pension scheme ‘may not survive’ COVID-19 fall-out

Plans for auto-enrolment pension scheme 'may not survive' COVID-19 fall-out

Stephen Gillick

Plans to launch an auto-enrolment pension scheme in Ireland by 2022 “may not survive the ongoing economic fall-out from the COVID-19 crisis”, Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC) has said.

The business law firm today published the results of a survey carried out in partnership with the Irish Institute of Pensions Management (IIPM) amongst over 100 pension industry professionals who participated in a recent webinar.

Two-thirds of respondents said they believe the auto-enrolment scheme will be delayed “by a number of years”, while a fifth said there is a “high chance” that the project will be mothballed entirely.

Stephen Gillick, head of pensions at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “The global uncertainty brought about by the pandemic will continue to have a seismic effect on the provision of pensions in Ireland.

“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 fall-out from the COVID-19 crisis.”

The survey also found that most (54 per cent) of respondents are only partially satisfied with the pensions-related guidance provided by the regulatory authorities during the pandemic, with 39 per cent not satisfied at all with the level of guidance.

A small minority (15 per cent) said that employer pension contributions to their pensions scheme had been reduced or suspended since the start of the pandemic.

Mr Gillick said: “This relatively low percentage may in itself be reflective of the low pensions coverage and contribution rates in those sections of the economy that have been severely hit by the crisis, especially the hospitality sector.”

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