Irish auto enrolment

On 29th March 2022, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys received Cabinet approval to begin drafting the legislation for the auto-enrolment scheme in Ireland to address the pension coverage gap. If all goes to plan, it is expected that the system will be set up by 2023, with employee enrolments commencing in 2024. The scheme could see up to 750,000 enrolled into a pension scheme.

The basis of the scheme is expected to be as follows:

Eligibility Criteria

Anyone aged between 23 and 60 years and earning more than £20,000 will be automatically enrolled (no deferment/postponement period will be offered); however, those outside this eligibility criteria can choose to opt in if they wish. Membership will be compulsory for the first six months; after this time, employees can choose to opt out and receive a refund of contributions paid. After that, re-enrolment will occur every two years – members who have opted out will be put back into the scheme if they are eligible and again can receive a full refund of contributions. However, this option to opt out and receive a refund will only happen in the first ten years of membership; employees can still choose to cease membership after this time, but no further refunds will be given.


The employee and employer contributions will start at 1.5%, increasing every three years by 1.5% until they reach 6% by year 10 in 2034. The maximum earnings for the contributions will be £80,000 – any earnings over this will not be pensionable. The employee can choose to make additional contributions on a salary over £80,000. However, employers will not be required to match this.   

The State will provide a top-up of £1 for every £3 saved by the worker.


Employers won't need to set up their own occupational pension scheme as a central pension scheme will be established, administered by the Central Processing Authority. One-pot will be established for each employee, and all contributions from all employments will go into this one arrangement removing the need to change pension scheme or join a new scheme when moving employment. Those with multiple employments will have all their pension savings from all employments put into the one pot.

Employees will have a choice of 4 retirement funds and 3 offering different risk/return profiles. In addition, a default lifestyle fund will also be provided; employees who don't specify a fund will be placed in the default fund. 


It is expected that the system will be set up by 2023, with employee enrolments commencing in 2024.

At Dataplan, we will liaise with affected clients to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place before the scheme commences. If you would like more information about our Irish Payroll and Pension service, please contact us.

Written by Lucy Brewitt
Published on April 28, 2022

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