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Pensions Reform Information, 2020

Article 64B of the Social Security Act (SSA) establishes that the “Minister shall within intervals not exceeding the period of five years lay on the Table of the House a report reviewing the workings of Part V of [the Social Security] Act”. In 2017, the Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family, and Children’s Right (MSFC) appointed an inter-ministerial Pension Strategy Group (PSG) to prepare a Strategic Review (2020 SR) mandated by this Article of the SSA. The PSG presented its report to the Ministry and, subsequently, in late 2020, to Cabinet. The 2020 SR is supported by 13 research papers. The Terms of Reference presented to the PSG by the responsible Minister specifically excluded the presentation of recommendations related to the increase of the (a) statutory retirement age and (b) social security contributory rates.

The Cabinet directed that the 2020 SR is tabled at the House of Representatives – this was done on 16th December 2020. The 2020 SR is the third strategic review document tabled at the House of Representatives as mandated by Article 64B of the SSA. The other two strategic review documents were tabled at the House of Representatives in 2010 and 2015.  The Cabinet further directed that the PSG carries out a consultation process on the 2020 SR with stakeholders – which consultation process was to be completed by 30th March 2021. The Cabinet instructed the PSG to present its final recommendations by the end of July 2021.

The consultation process took place between 4th January and 30th March 2021. The PSG reviewed all consultation feedback received after 30th March 2021 and submitted its findings to Government in September 2021.

Due to the focus that Government placed on its pandemic exit strategy, in particular the process leading to the Budget for 2022, the recommendations submitted by the PSG were temporarily not actively pursued. However, the importance placed on these recommendations is evident from the fact that Government has included several of them in its programme till 2027. Yet, Government did enact other important measures in the post-pandemic period (mainly 2021 and 2022).

An Action Plan has been prepared which outlines the different measures that Government has been enacting since 2021, or has announced it plans to enact, or will come into effect, by 2027.

The measures seek to address the policy drivers of the SR 2020 report, attempt to reduce current anomalies between pensioner cohorts and promote solidarity through sustainability and adequacy-oriented interventions, bearing in mind the realities and specificities of our country and our pension system.


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