Social Welfare Bill 2017 – defined benefit pension measures

The Bill also introduces a number of measures which respond to the ongoing difficulties in Defined Benefit (DB) Occupational Pension schemes.  Firstly, it requires employers who sponsor DB schemes – whether or not those schemes are in deficit – to give 12 months’ notice of their intention to cease contributions. For a scheme in deficit, the employers and trustees are required to enter into discussions to agree a funding proposal before the 12 month period expires.

Secondly, it introduces a time limit of six months, from the date of the actuarial funding certificate, for trustees of a DB scheme which is in deficit to submit a funding proposal to the Pensions Authority.

And thirdly, the Bill provides powers to the Pensions Authority to determine a schedule of contributions that will restore DB pension schemes, which do not satisfy the funding standard or funding standard reserve, to an adequate funding position, in circumstances where a funding proposal has not been agreed.

Minister Varadkar said he hopes for cross-party support of these actions which should offer greater safeguards to people who are members of DB schemes.

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