Insurance Ireland paper ‘Mitigating the Gender Pension Gap in Ireland’ outlines the considerations to reduce instances of poverty in retirement for women
The ESRI estimates the Gender Pensions Gap in Ireland at 35%
Issued 7 March 2022. The Insurance Ireland Gender Pension Gap Working Group will today present a paper 'Mitigating the Gender Pension Gap in Ireland' during an International Women’s Day webinar which will be addressed by Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys. The Insurance Ireland paper looks at the reasons for a gender pension gap and highlights considerations for public policy, for pension providers, and for consumers and consumer groups regarding the use of private pension provision to reduce instances of poverty in retirement for women.
The ESRI estimates that the gender pension gap in Ireland is around 35%.Speaking on behalf of Insurance Ireland, Moyagh Murdock, CEO, said “There are many reported actions that lead to a gender pension gap and lower pension income in retirement.By far the most impactful and influential is the fact that women are less likely to received supplementary pensions due to lower paid work and part-time work or extended periods out of the workforce in for care giving reasons.Many women lose important pension contributions when on maternity, parental or other carer leave as much of these breaks in service are unpaid, with no salary contributions to pensions being made during these periods.”
“The situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Moyagh Murdock “A recent Rethink Ireland report found that the unemployment rate of women rose by 53.8% between July and September 2020 while the unemployment rate for men increased by 23% during the same period.And during the pandemic, 71% of women were providing care for children, adults or both in their own homes.According to CSO data quoted in an Irish Life report, 445,000 women identified themselves as carers compared with 9,200 men.”
To address the Gender Pensions Gap, the Insurance Ireland paper makes several recommendations:
Consideration should be given to providing additional support for women, specifically:
- Pension tax credit should be applied to pension pots when a person is not earning due to caring activities
- Tax relieved pension contributions to an unemployed partner should be permissible over periods of times when persons are engaged in caring activities
- Review and amend disclosure requirements un the Pensions Act 1990
- Consumer advocacy groups/statutory bodies could take steps to highlight the impact of career breaks on pension saving and design appropriate tools such as pension calculators to help quantify this impact.
- Raise awareness of Pension Adjustment Orders, including potential impact when transferring a pension where an individual has been attached to another’s pension (particularly relevant to divorce)
- On auto-enrolment, consideration should be given to removing/reducing the proposed earning threshold for auto-enrolment and also to a ‘kick start’ bonus for certain low income earners.
- Pension providers should give consideration to the design of innovative new products that can support mitigation of the Gender Pension Gap.
- Pension providers and advisers should implement steps to combat gender bias in pension product design and distribution
‘Mitigating the Gender Pension Gap in Ireland’ can be accessed here.