302. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of the fact that a company (details supplied) has purchased smaller companies, if the employees of those smaller companies have been allowed to enter the Mercier pension. (Question 56311/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Pension scheme in Ireland are generally set up on a voluntary basis and arrangements for access to a scheme would generally be a matter for negotiations between the employers, employees and trade unions. Where an employer does not provide employees with access to an occupational pension scheme within six months of the commencement of employment, then the employer must provide the employee with access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (P...

839. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will clarify an anomaly which has shown up on the system where a farmer has retired under the EU Commission early farm retirement scheme at the age of 55 years and was advised that participation in the scheme would cover any PRSI contributions necessary to allow them to qualify for the full contributory pension at age 66 years, but it has now transpired that there was no PRSI paid even though the pension was taxable, they now do not qualify for a full contributory pension; if she will investigate same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38833/12 asked on 18 Sep 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Under social welfare legislation, certain payments received by way of pension are excluded from income on which PRSI is charged. As payments received under the Early Retirement Scheme are regarded as payments received by way of pension, they are not subject to PRSI.
The operation of the Early Retirement Scheme is a matter for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
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