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Proposals to raise the pension age to 68 are futile while most workers face mandatory retirement at 65

Published 09/09/2021

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(09 September 2021) Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation on ageing and older people, says that the leaked proposal of the Pensions Commission to raise the pension age to 68 by 2039, and 67 by 2031, will not fix Ireland’s ailing retirement system.

In an initial response to the leaked proposal, Age Action’s policy specialist, Nat O’Connor, says ‘A large number of workers face mandatory retirement at the age of 65 due to clauses in their contracts. Such clauses are not permitted in other jurisdictions, such as the USA which largely outlawed them in 1986. At present, many people face a year on a low welfare income at age 65, waiting for their State Pension entitlement to kick in on their 66th birthday. This puts people under financial pressure and hardship just when they should be looking forward to retirement.’

‘What is needed is a fair and flexible retirement system that will address the large shortfall in public financing the future State Pension, and which will provide greater gender equality and security of income in older age. Those who wish to work beyond the State Pension age should be allowed to do so, on the same terms and conditions as they currently enjoy, not on precarious one-year contracts. There certainly is a need to look at how our society will afford a decent State Pension for all, but we have options to increase what are Europe’s lowest rates of social insurance to help close the gap’ Nat O’Connor said.

If this proposal is accepted by the Government, eligibility for the State Pension would rise to 66¼ in six years’ time, with a steady increase from then onwards. No information has been published about how much money would be saved by raising the retirement age, but research to date indicates that it will not come close to covering the full cost. A much wider public debate is needed once the full report of the Pension Commission is published.

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Age Action calls on the Government to use Budget 2022 to counter the growing inequality experienced by older people

(13 September 2021) Age Action today launched its submission to Government in advance of Budget 2022, alongside the findings of a survey of older people’s views on the budget.

93.7% of respondents to Age Action’s Pre-Budget 2022 survey said that there should be in increase in the State Pension. 53.7% of older persons said they found it difficult to access services or activities that were only available online, and 54.3% had medical appointments for non-COVID issues cancelled or postponed.