Finally, after years of promises, the Irish Government has set a date for auto- enrolment to be rolled out in Ireland in the year 2022. It’s exciting news because it has been apparent for a long time that the current State pension is just not enough to have a decent standard of living. But while the need for auto- enrolment is unanimously agreed upon, people still have opinions on the means of delivering it.
Look, it was never going to be easy. Regina Doherty, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (aka the woman behind the wheel) has previously described auto- enrolment as “perhaps the most fundamental policy reform in a generation”. Not an easy feat! With such a momentous task there will always be a diverse range of feedback, which is a polite way of saying that people have some concerns.
So what are these concerns? While there are valid opinions from actuaries and the like, I want to just concentrate on us little folk; the regular Joes and Jills and how auto- enrolment may affect us. The most resounding criticism at this level is the exclusion of certain groups of workers, including those under 23 or over 60, those earning below €20,000 and the self-employed. However, although not automatically enrolled, members of these groups would still be able to opt in to the system.
A lot of people are also wondering about the State pension - isn’t it enough? Well, the answer is no. Although promised in the past, the State pension has still not increased in line with wages or inflation and let’s face it, €12,000 a year won’t be enough for a bag of cough drops and a couple of pints in a few years, let alone a decent standard of living!
The number of people over 65 in Ireland is set to double in the coming years, and it’s estimated that two- thirds of them are currently employed and do not have a workplace pension. Don’t worry, the State pension won’t be gotten rid of altogether. Auto- enrolment is seen as a top-up, starting at the proposed 1% of your wages, and rising to 6% after 10 years. With employers required to contribute the same amount, 12% of your salary will be going towards your pension pot. Not bad right?
And what about employers? “How much is this going to cost me?” and “How much extra work is involved” I hear them grumble. While it’s true that employers will have the additional financial cost of contributing towards their employees’ pension schemes, it doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. If you’re fortunate enough to use a good payroll software then this will handle and automate the administrative duties for you. If you aren’t fortunate enough then let me tell you about BrightPay.
With BrightPay it’s simple. We have the experience to guide you through the process, having already rolled out a similar system in the UK. BrightPay will automate auto- enrolment duties at no additional cost. All BrightPay payroll packages will include auto- enrolment plus free phone and email support to help you through your auto- enrolment journey.
Like it or not, auto- enrolment is on its way. It’s normal to have doubts and concerns, but given our savings rates, demographics and the increasing number of people who rely on State pension, then auto- enrolment is definitely the right path for Ireland and all of us future golden oldies.
BrightPay Payroll Software will be able to seamlessly cater for Auto Enrolment without any additional costs to the software, and also includes free phone and email support.