Donohoe admits discrimination in pension system- decides to keep it in Budget 2018. Bríd Smith TD calls on Finance Minister to introduce fair state pension scheme that won’t penalise women who stopped work to care for children.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has described as ‘bonkers’ the rules of his Government that implement discrimination in the state pension, particularly against women. But he has not indicated that he will dismantle this systemic discrimination.
People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith, has said that “these rules surrounding the state pension must be illegal as they breach the equality legislation and they have to be reversed”.
Over 23,000 pensioners receive reductions in pensions of €15-30 per week because of changes to the bands system that Department of Social Protection uses when calculating the contributory pension.
To add insult to injury the Homemakers Scheme which affects mostly women who took time out of the workforce before 1994 are being penalised. Recognition is denied to those women who reared their families in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and only applies to so-called Homemakers after 1994 and not before.
Women (and some men) who are now retiring are losing €1,500 a year on average in their state pension because of these rules, introduced in 2012 by the then Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton.
Brid Smith TD said: “I fully agree with Minister Donohoe that the rules are Bonkers but so is he since he made no attempt to address this inequality in the current budget.
“Minister Donohoe knew in the lead up to Budget 2018 that tens of thousands of pensioners, especially women have been directly affected by the band changes and the Homemaker Rules. But he claimed that it would cost too much – even though only €60 million was involved. He would rather give the taxpayers money to the ”strategic communications unit” to tell women who are retiring in a “nice way”, that they are being screwed by his government.
“This discrimination was well flagged to the previous Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar when we debated the Social Protection Bill last year and People Before Profit put an amendment to address the inequality. This was rejected outright by Leo Varadkar. I am now calling on the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe, to immediately scrap the system that has discriminated against pensioners, particularly women, and to implement a fair state pension system without delay”.