Pensions Equity Challenge

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ISME is raising funds for a legal challenge to force the creation of a fair system for private sector pension savers. By way of crowdfunding, ISME intends to raise €500,000. This will be done with the support of PAYE workers, professional groups, trade associations, trade unions and SME owners. These funds will support of three plaintiffs who will challenge tax discrimination against private sector workers before the High Court.

The funds raised will support the formation of a technical team. The team will give tax guidance, pensions expertise, actuarial assistance together with tax and constitutional law advice for the challenge. We intend to initiate proceedings in the High Court this year.

The last Public Service Pay Commission report found that while there is almost 100% pension coverage in the public sector, the overall figure for the private sector is 40%.

Workers in the private sector who aspire to a pension even close to that of a similarly paid public sector worker, would have to surrender more than a third of their salary.

Even if they could afford it, our taxation rules constrain them from doing so. Our taxation system permits only third division pensions for the private sector. This means most PAYE workers will have only the contributory pension of €248 per week to survive on in retirement.

To support the challenge ISME is calling on business owners and PAYE workers for donations of €100.  As the biggest beneficiaries of this challenge, we call on pension providers to donate a minimum of €10,000 each. To help build funds ISME will engage with pension trustees, pension brokers, trade unions and other interested parties.

As part of the Court action in pursuit of fair treatment for private sector workers, we will pursue three objectives:

  • Tax relief for private sector pension savers must be maintained at the current marginal rate of taxation (currently 40%). There must be an incentive for private sector workers to save money for their pensions.
  • Private sector workers mustn’t be discriminated against via the “income ceiling” on contributions. The private sector defined contribution pension savers shouldn’t have a ceiling on their earnings imposed below that of the highest earning public sector worker (currently €350,000). Workers in the private sector should be allowed set aside as much of their income as they want to secure a standard of living post-retirement.
  • Many public sector pensioners enjoy pensions that would require a fund far in excess of the current €2m “standard fund threshold” (SFT) even though they do not have to fund their pension. Yet higher-earning private sector workers are financially penalised if they save more than €2m of their own money for their pension. This blatant discrimination must end, and the SFT must be increased to its 2005 level of €5m.

The funds generated by this GoFundMe campaign will be audited. This audit will be published on the ISME website. Any undisbursed funds raised will be donated to the following charities: