Workers can check out, but never leave: Can the government’s controversial plan defuse the pensions timebomb?

The state’s new scheme for the 750,000 private sector workers who do not have a private pension aims to generate a pension pot of €21 billion within a decade. But opinion is already divided over whether it will work

The government is aiming to get 750,000 pension-less people to save for their retirement. Picture: Fergal Phillips

“Nobody has ever accused pensions of being sexy.” That was Fine Gael senator Barry Ward’s take on the state’s new scheme for private sector workers.

Ward’s comment in the Seanad last week served to illustrate why 750,000 workers have no private pension at all, and are now going to be enrolled into one automatically within the next year and a half.

Many workers rank saving for their retirement as a low priority, given the more ...