Public policy engagement at the CIPD involves both engaging with ministers and other policy makers and engaging our members to ensure that we draw on the knowledge and expertise within our 150,000-strong membership to inform our views to government. This two-way engagement can help influence policy making and day-to-day people management practice, for example by ensuring members are aware of changes to legislation or new practitioner guidance developed in response to our public policy work.

The CIPD is the leading independent voice on workplace performance and skills. We draw on our extensive research and the expertise and experience of our members on the front-line to highlight and promote new and best practice and produce practical guidance for the benefit of employers, employees and policy makers.

On a macro-economic scale, our expertise and the data we gather from our membership gives us an unrivalled capacity to accurately forecast labour market trends and to consider the impact of employment legislation across all sectors and sizes of organisation.

Our recent engagement

The Department of Justice and Equality launched a consultation process: Towards a new National Women’s Strategy 2017-2020 in 2016.

CIPD Ireland put in a submission on the strategy in January 2017 and commented on the fact that women have a lower rate of pension coverage than men. We also identified that maternal gaps in labour market participation exacerbate this problem and called on the government to take action which not only addresses the State’s overall pensions funding gap, but also the bigger pension gap experienced by women. We called on the National Women’s Strategy to acknowledge this concern, how it contributes to greater poverty among older women in Ireland, and to consider funding mechanisms to cover employment gaps and build a more equitable society.

A 2017 Age Action research report has shown that the State pension scheme itself is unfairly affecting women. Changes in 2012 resulted in thousands of retired workers losing more than €1,500 a year, with women pensioners suffering the most, commonly for taking time out of the workforce to care for their families. CIPD supports Age Action’s call for the 2012 cut to be reversed and for the incomes of these pensioners to be restored.

CIPD urged:

  • The government to reverse the 2012 pension changes and for the incomes of these pensioners to be restored.
  • The Department of Justice and Equality to outline actions to address the pension inequalities for women as a central plank of the forthcoming National Women’s Strategy.
  • The Department of Social Protection to implement process to both review and future-proof pension provision to ensure that it does not inadvertently effect those who may have be out of the workforce, whether though parenting or illness.
  • The government to ensure that proposals on universal pension coverage take account of the lower pension coverage by women, their lower wages and gaps in employment, and provide funding supports to deliver equitable pension coverage.

You can download our submission below.

The Department of Justice and Equality published the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020: creating a better society for all in April 2107.

The government has announced a new initiative Better Balance for Better Business to promote the role of women in companies. This aims to increase women’s representation in governance and senior management and will recommend how more women can be involved in decision-making at the top level of businesses in Ireland.

The gender pay gap was highlighted over 100 years ago, yet for most organisations it sits invisible and unknown. Then high profile organisations such as the BBC and RTE release figures and it becomes a headline grabbing controversy for a short period. This time it has forced the government to take action to set up a consultation process on how to narrow it.

The gender pay gap was covered in the National Women’s Strategy for Women and Girls 2017–2020, a document that is strong on aspiration addressing a wide range of equality needs. The strategy would however benefit from robust measures, and a greater sense of urgency as many of the actions are positioned in a four-year time frame. This includes action to narrow the gender pay gap.

CIPD Ireland responded to the Government’s call for submissions. If you are interested in this area, please email us on

Find out more about our submission and read the document Measures to tackle the gender pay gap.

Are you prepared for pension auto enrolment in Ireland?

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are planning to launch a framework to expand pension coverage in Ireland, expected to involve auto enrolment. It is widely acknowledge that we will face a pension crisis if we do not take urgent action.

Pension coverage in Ireland is clearly inadequate, with 47% coverage over and above the State pension and only 35% in the private sector. According to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, there are 5 people of working age for every person over 65 and by 2045, in less than 30 years, this will have reduced to about 2.1 people working for every person over 65. As the number of pensioners doubles, this will double the cost to the State from €7 billion to €15 billion pa.

At a 2018 Workplace Relations Commission seminar, the Department shared key statistics demonstrating why it needs to urgently bring in pension reform. There are both massive coverage issues and massive income adequacy issues, and the importance of a pension system that is sustainable into the future and capable of helping people have enough to sustain themselves when they retire was highlighted. To achieve this, the government intends to bring changes to pension policy by introducing a new automatic enrolment system. The government have been closely following developments in the UK where auto enrolment was brought in on a phased basis.

In the light of the urgent need for action, the CIPD/IRN 2018 Private sector pay survey sought the HR profession’s views on pension policy choices both this year and last.

In the context of the need to overhaul our pension coverage, 76% of those in the Private sector pay survey agreed or strongly agreed that employers should be required to contribute to a pension scheme, 81% agreed or strongly agreed that employees should be required to contribute, and 80% agreed or strongly agreed that a programme of pension auto enrolment should be introduced in Ireland. Four in five of those surveyed already had some form of pension scheme in place. For those with no pension scheme, nearly half predict that the introduction of auto enrolment would impact future pay increases.

As the voice of the HR and L&D profession, CIPD plans to engage on behalf of members with the government on the proposed pension framework so that we build a more sustainable pensions model across the public and private sectors.

In December 2016, experts from the Department of Social Protection met with the CIPD National Committee to share their examination of private sector pensions as they start the process of exploring options to deal with the future pension crisis that Ireland is facing. Ireland has 47% supplementary pensions coverage rate (35% in private sector) and needs to build a model that can provide adequate and sustainable pension coverage.

Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023

The CIPD welcomes the publication of the Government's pensions roadmap.

The Government’s aim to establish a more equitable and transparent State pension system where a person's pension outcome reflects their social insurance contributions, and in parallel, the promotion of better levels of private pension coverage to help supplement future retirement incomes.

Separate national public consultation processes will be announced for the Total Contributions Approach and the Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System.

Proposals for automatic enrolment retirement savings scheme

There is no doubt that Ireland urgently needs to put in place a system to start to tackle the pensions time bomb that we face. Financing pension spending will fall to a diminishing share of the population as the ratio of people of working age to every person of pensionable age will reduce from its current rate of 4.5 to 1, to just 2.3 to 1 over the next 40 years.

It is good to see that there is Government commitment to this, and they have proposed an auto enrolment approach, where all employees automatically make pension contributions. It is vital that everyone has their say so that any approach is viable, equitable and affordable for employees and employers.

The consultation document calls out the need for low costs, simplicity and ease of administration from pension providers. This is critical and will be central to success, acceptability and return rate, especially vital for those on lower incomes. We look forward to the pensions’ industry engaging positively with this initiative.

CIPD Ireland will be carrying out a consultation process, and please email your views to

Total Contribution Approach

The Government is seeking input on the design of the State Pensions system that will be used in Ireland for decades to come and will have a personal impact on most of us and our employees.

The details and considerations are explained in the Total Contribution Approach report below. The consultation ended on Monday 3 September.

We wrote to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the strategic response needed following the transfer of labour market policy to the old Department of Social Protection. The connection between labour affairs activity and social welfare presents an opportunity for increased integration and new policy directions around issues such as the relationship between the national minimum wage and social welfare rates, the operation of part-time working and social welfare benefits, upskilling and pathways to work, and return to work after illness.

We presented CIPD’s views on a number of areas:

  • Pensions
  • Having the right skills, accessing and sustaining jobs
  • Protections for precarious workers
  • Organisation development and stakeholder engagement by the Dept
  • Family and carer responsibilities
  • Minimum wage and fitness for work

On 30 January 2017, we engaged in the all-island Brexit Forum being hosted by the Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation. Our HR practices in Ireland survey made it very clear that HR professionals in Ireland want the government to work to maintain the status quo, and maximise the maintenance of free movement of labour and free trade between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland.

For more information on our activities in this area, see our Brext hub.

Workplace Wellbeing Strategy

As part of Healthy Ireland, work has commenced on building a national Workplace Wellbeing Strategy. In December 2016, Mary Connaughton and Michelle Staunton attended the consultation forum on Healthy Me looking at absence and attendance at work. In January 2017, we contributed views around the consultation process on the strategy. We will organise consultation among members as this work progresses.

Healthy Workplace Framework

CIPD Ireland is also supporting Healthy Ireland with their nationwide consultation about a new Healthy Workplace Framework.

At the end of March 2017, Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, and Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, launched a public consultation on the framework. The aim of the consultation is to gather the views of stakeholders on priority issues to be addressed in the framework. The framework will provide guidance, which can be adapted to any workplace setting, to help create and sustain healthy workplaces throughout Ireland.

As part of building on this aspirational agenda for the future of workplace health and well-being, CIPD Ireland plans to develop a collection of thought pieces to highlight the issues and practices in Ireland. For further information contact Mary Connaughton.

CIPD has contributed to the NSAI review of the Excellence through People scheme which, under the leadership of Michelle Browne, aims to modernise it and revitalise the standards.

The Minister For Social Protection announced the closure of the JobBridge scheme in October 2016. CIPD has been invited to engage with the Department of Social Protection in relation to a new scheme to replace JobBridge.

Connect with us

If you are a CIPD member with a specific interest in any of these issues please let us know by email

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