Compulsory pensions are back on the Government agenda, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

Joan Burton, the minister for social protection, told a conference during the week the Government wanted to give middle-income earners an incentive to save for retirement.

To achieve this, auto-enrolment was being considered. This would require employers to sign up all employees to a pension plan unless they opted out. The level of tax relief on contributions to the funds had yet to be decided, according to a government spokeswoman.

Auto-enrolment was flagged by the previous government, which wanted to bring it in by 2014, but was shelved as part of the austerity deal agreed with the Troika last December.

Personal Finance Editor Niall Brady also reports some good news in the form of “surprise tax rebates” for workers whose employers contribute to their personal retirement savings accounts (PRSAs).

“Following last December’s budget, many employers began treating PRSA contributions as benefits in kind, exposing workers to a charge of 11% for the universal social charge and pay-related social insurance,” Brady says. “Irish Life says workers should not have been charged PRSI, although they remain liable for the social charge on employers’ contributions.”

Those who have paid PRSI on employer contributions since the start of the year should be able to claim a rebate.

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