Businesses not confident of meeting auto-enrolment pensions deadline – survey

Compulsory workplace pensions are due to come into force early next year but industry specialists say business will need more time

As many as seven in 10 Irish businesses say they will not be ready to operate Ireland’s new compulsory workplace pension scheme, which is due to come into force early next year.

Ireland has been talking about auto-enrolment for more than a decade and the Government has clearly signalled its intent to introduce it under this administration. A survey of HR specialists by business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran, however, found 70 per cent of respondents saying that they did not believe business owners and employers would be able to get systems and processes in place to meet a first quarter of 2024 deadline.

“Ireland is the only OECD country that doesn’t yet operate an auto-enrolment system or similar scheme,” said Stephen Gillick, partner and head of pensions at Mason Hayes & Curran. “The new system is designed to simplify the pensions decision for workers and make it easier for employers to offer a workplace pension.

“But, our survey findings show that Irish businesses do not feel ready and with only nine months to go until its introduction, it is clear that organisations need to take action now. This includes looking at their existing pension arrangements and examining how these can be made compliant with the forthcoming auto-enrolment requirements.”


The survey also showed that a close to eight in 10 pension professionals believe that pensions regulations in Ireland are too complex.

“A lot has been happening in the pensions world of late and it’s not surprising that Irish employers are finding it an increasingly complex area to navigate,” Mr Gillick said. “Between changes to the state pension system, the move to master trusts and the new EU rules on occupational pensions [the IORP II Directive], it is a time of change and flux for Ireland’s pension landscape and there are many legal and practical aspects for employers to consider.”

The law firm carried out the survey at a recent event focusing on employee benefit packages with those attending specialising in that area, which includes pensions. The event discussed recent reforms to pensions in Ireland and how these have impacted options available to employers when considering retirement benefit packages for employees.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times