Gender and proposed Auto-enrolment in the Republic of Ireland: Lessons from the UK
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Foster, Liam, Wijeratne, Dinali, & Mulligan, Emer. Gender and proposed Auto-enrolment in the Republic of Ireland: Lessons from the UK. Social Policy and Administration, doi:10.1111/spol.12627
The introduction of “soft” compulsion in the form of Auto‐enrolment into non‐state pensions has been seen as a key policy response to the challenges presented by an ageing population and concerns about under‐saving for retirement in the UK. Since its introduction in 2012, amongst eligible employees in the private sector, pension participation had risen by over 31 percentage points to 73% of eligible employees in 2016. Despite these trends, Auto‐enrolment in the UK has not been without criticism, particularly in terms of its exclusion of certain groups, including carers, amongst whom females are over‐represented. The Republic of Ireland (ROI) has recently announced its intention to implement an Auto‐enrolment pension scheme. As such, this article examines the UK's experience of rolling out Auto‐enrolment policy and considers lessons that could be learned by the ROI from the UK in its pursuit of Auto‐enrolment, with a particular focus on women's pensions. Initially it outlines the current Irish pension system, the gendered nature of pensions, and the proposed Auto‐enrolment system in ROI. Then it discusses the UK's experience of Auto‐enrolment, with a particular focus on gender, before examining the lessons the ROI can learn from the UK's Auto‐enrolment policy in relation to women and pensions. Finally, it concludes that Auto‐enrolment alone will not resolve the gendered nature of pensions in the ROI and calls for a gender‐based assessment of the proposed policy of Auto‐enrolment in the ROI.
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