Committee recommends keeping State Pension age at 66
The qualifying age for the State Pension should remain at age 66, the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection has recommended.
In a report published today, the committee also calls for legislation to ban mandatory retirement clauses in employment contracts.
And it is seeking flexibility to allow those with 40 years’ contributions to access their State Pension at the age of 65.
Today’s report follows a request to the committee by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys to consider the findings of the Commission on Pensions.
The committee concluded that many people aged 66 and over could not reasonably be expected to continue working due to the physical and mental stress their jobs have caused.
The Pensions Commission has proposed to increase the State Pension age by three months every year from 2028.
This would see the pension age reach 67 in 2031 and it would increase again by three months every two years from 2033 onwards.
Under this plan the pension age would be set at 68 years from 2039.
An overall pensions plan is scheduled to go to Cabinet by the end of next month.
Meanwhile, the Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands has said there is no guarantee that increasing the pension age would meet the potential deficit in the pension fund that could be there by 2050 or 2070.
Because of that, Denis Naughten said, the committee has recommended that the pension age should remain at 66.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme today, he said the recommendation of a ban on mandatory retirement could result in many people working past the age of 66 which would have a significant impact on the drawdown of the pension.
He said the ban should apply to those who start working today but should also be retrospective to those who are already on employment contracts.
‘Detrimental impact’ on health
Mr Naughten said evidence from EU countries, where people are forced to retire at 65, found it can have a detrimental impact on their health.
That in turn puts additional demands on our health service, he said, and adds to the overall cost of the exchequer.
He said those who have been working for 40 years in jobs that involve heavy manual labour should not be asked to work past the age of 65.
In many cases these are people in low paid employment, he added.