Rush to meet deadline

PENSION providers were last night dealing with a last-minute rush by employers to meet the deadline to make Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) available to employees.

An Irish Pensions Board spokesperson said it would take at least a month to determine the number of employers who had failed to sign up for the mandatory scheme, the registration deadline for which expired last night.

Employers who fail to register face criminal prosecutions, fines of up to €12,500 and/or a maximum of two years in jail.

However, the spokesperson said the board would take a practical and pragmatic approach to prosecutions. Its main aim was to ensure pension provision was provided for employees. “We will of course initiate prosecutions when and where the need arises,” she said.

The PRSA initiative is aimed at increasing the number of workers who have a pension scheme.

But while the scheme obliges employers to allow their workers contribute to a PRSA via their pay slip, there is no obligation on companies to contribute money to the scheme.

It is hoped employee pension coverage will rise from 50% to 70% of workers over the next 10 years following the scheme’s introduction.

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