Auto-enrolment

What is Auto-enrolment?

Auto-enrolment is a new pension savings scheme for certain employees who are not paying into a pension. They will be automatically included in the scheme but can opt out after 6 months.

Auto-enrolment is expected to be introduced in late 2024. This page will be updated as more detail becomes available.

Under the scheme, the employee, employer and Government all pay a certain amount into the employee’s pension fund.

A new Central Processing Authority will be set up to administer the Auto-enrolment scheme.

Who will be automatically enrolled?

You will be automatically enrolled in the new pension plan if you are an employee and:

  • You are age between 23 and 60
  • You are not currently part of a pension plan
  • You earn €20,000 or more per year

If you earn less than €20,000 per year, or you are not age between 23 and 60, you can choose to join the pension plan if you are not already part of a pension scheme.

Does my employer have to participate?

If your employer does not meet their auto-enrolment obligations, they will be subject to penalties and possibly to prosecution.

Can I leave the pension plan?

After you are enrolled, you must stay in the plan for at least 6 months. You can choose to leave the plan in month 7 or 8. You can also stop or pause contributions under specific circumstances. However, you will be re-enrolled (added back to the plan) after 2 years if you are still eligible for the scheme.

What happens if I already have a workplace pension? 

You will not be enrolled in the new auto enrolment scheme if you are paying into a workplace pension plan. You can read more about occupational pensions on our website.

How much do I pay?

The amount you pay will be a set rate of your annual salary. Your employer will match your contributions and the Government will contribute an additional amount. You cannot pay more or less than the set rate.

You and your employer will pay 1.5% of your annual salary in the first year. This will increase to 6% by year 10.

The table below sets out the rates you, your employer and the Government will pay.

Year
Employee Contribution Rate Employer pays
Government pays
1 to 3 1.5% 1.5% 0.5%
4 to 6 3% 3% 1%
7 to 9 4.5% 4.5% 1.5%
10 and after  6% 6% 2%

The table below includes an example of a worker earning €20,000 a year.

Year Employee pays, € Employer pays, € Government pays, € Total payments per year, €
1 to 3 300 300 100 700
4 to 6 600 600 200 1,400
7 to 9 900 900 300 2,100
10 and after 1200 1200 400 2,800

What is the maximum contribution?

Both an employer’s and the Government’s contributions are capped at €80,000 gross annual salary.

This means for the first 3 years, the maximum amount an employer can contribute is €1,200 a year. This is because 1.5% of €80,000 is €1,200. The maximum amount the Government can contribute is €400 a year, which is 0.5% of €80,000.

If you earn over €80,000, you can still contribute but your employer or the Government won't match your contributions on any income over €80,000.

Further information

The Department of Social Protection has published a video on auto-enrolment and more information online.

You can email autoenrolment@welfare.ie for more details.

Page edited: 7 December 2023