Pensions Board announces National Pensions Action Week

Wednesday 4 May 2005:PENSIONS BOARD CALLS FOR EMPLOYERS TO MAKE TIME DURING WEEK FOR EMPLOYEES WITHOUT PENSIONS TO GET ADVICE

The Pensions Board has announced that it will conduct a National Pensions Action Week which will take place from May 9th – 15th and will focus on encouraging people to take action around pensions.

The Pensions Board is also asking employers to allow time during the week to their employees who have not made pension provision to get advice on their pension options. The Board is also encouraging employers to invite pension providers into their workplace to advise employees without pensions.

Ms Anne Maher, chief executive of the Pensions Board, said the Board was very concerned at the number of “shell” PRSAs that were in existence. “It is not enough to just notify employees that the company has a PRSA provider if they so wish. We would like employers to ask their PRSA provider to come in and talk to their employees who do not have a pension provision. We would encourage employers to take the initiative during Pensions Action Week to make these shell PRSA schemes active. We would also encourage the providers to have simple, straightforward presentations for employees and to actively go out and present.”

The Pensions Board is actively monitoring employers to ensure compliance with mandatory access obligation requiring them to make pensions access available to their employees.

The Action Week campaign is being conducted in order to generate greater action amongst consumers in the area of pensions. The Pensions Board has highlighted that although awareness of pensions is extremely high, the challenge is to convert this awareness into action and increase the take-up of pensions among key target groups. The other issue the Pensions Board will be highlighting during the week is that pension adequacy levels among those with existing cover can be too low in many cases.

The campaign will be driven by advertising and PR activity and will involve a nationwide promotional campaign, with Pensions Board literature being handed out for the first time at traffic junctions, train and bus stops and on the street. The campaign will also involve in-branch participation by pension providers, outdoor, ambient and online advertising, regional and national print advertising, regional and national radio advertising and TV advertising.

Ms Maher said the focus of this campaign is very much on action and we are taking our message directly to consumers. “National Pensions Action Week is designed to focus the attention of consumers on the need for them to take the first step of action to secure their future. This can either be to start a pension or if you already have one, to review your existing pension contributions which may be in need of an increase.

“ The first step in increasing pensions coverage is to make people aware of the need to consider their pension position and then to help them to do something about it. Our advice is to talk to your employer, pick up the phone to a provider, seek advice from a parent or friend if required or check out our online pension calculator, but whatever else, take a step to securing your future.”

The Pensions Board online calculator and pensions information is available all year on www.pensionsboard.ie.


Media Queries:

Mary Hutch
Head of Information and Training
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 6131900

David Malone
Project Manager- National Pensions Action Campaign
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 6131900

Jackie Gallagher / Mark Leech Q4 PR
Tel: (01) 4751444
087-237 1838
087-9053679


About PRSAs
A PRSA is a contract between an individual and an authorised PRSA provider in the form of an investment account that can be used to save for retirement. It is a personal pension plan where the contributions paid are tax deductible and the investment return is tax exempted. There are two types of PRSA - a Standard PRSA and a non- Standard PRSA.

Excluded employees are:

  • Employees of an employer who does not offer an occupational pension scheme, or
  • Employees included in an occupational pension scheme for death in service benefits only, or
  • Employees included in an occupational pension scheme that does not permit the payment of additional voluntary contributions, or
  • Employees who are ineligible to join the occupational pension scheme and who will not, under the rules, become eligible to join the scheme for pension benefits within 6 months from the date they commenced employment.

About Mandatory Access – 15th September
All employers were required on 15th September 2003 to enter into a contract with a PRSA provider so that access to at least one Standard PRSA is available for all “excluded employees” on and from that date.

About the Pensions Board
The Pensions Board is the statutory body set up to regulate occupational pension schemes and PRSAs and to advise the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, and through him, the Government, on overall pension policy development.

Public Information
The information Unit at the Pensions Board provides a wide range of pension information booklets free of charge and can be reached at the LoCall number 1890-65-65-65 and on www.pensionsboard.ie.The Board’s website is at www.pensionsboard.ie .