Only 35% of private sector workers have a pension, Donohoe says

Minister insists pension value must be seen as part of public servants’ remuneration in pay talks

Only 35 per cent of private sector workers have an occupational pension, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has told the Seanad.

Mr Donohoe repeated his view that the value of pensions should be considered as part of public servants’ remuneration.

However, he said something would also have to be done about the level of pension coverage and provision more broadly.

The demographic structure of society was changing, with those in the old age cohort growing by 20,000 annually, he added.


Mr Donohoe said a clear finding of the Public Service Pay Commission was that there were valuable pension arrangements in the public service.

“In the commission’s opinion, having looked at all of the information provided, the additional value of a standard public service pension for those who joined the public service prior to 2013 is within a range of 12 per cent to 18 per cent,” he said. “Of course, this statistical comparison is based against a subset of the private sector that actually have pensions which can be compared to.’’

The Minister said while resources were finite, demands and choices were not only limited to pay and capital expenditure as there were other demands such as social support payments, healthcare demands and educational supports.

He said it was important to recognise at this time, when some would try to drive a wedge between the public and private sectors, pitting one against the other, each sector made its own important contribution to economic and social life in Ireland.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times