Clare submitted questions for Oral answer by the Minister for Social Protection on the 25th of May on the continuing inequity of women who were subject to the so-called ‘marriage bar’ (a system that prevailed up until the 1970s whereby women who got married had to leave their jobs) receiving reduced pensions because of it; and on the introduction of a universal second-pillar pension system. Her questions were not selected from the lottery, unfortunately, but you can read the Minister’s answers below.
Question No: 40 Ref No: 11638-16
To ask the Minister for Social Protection given the budgetary surplus reported in his Department and further to Parliamentary Question Number 9 of 30 September 2015, in which the former Minister stated, in relation to plans to address the inequality experienced by persons who are in receipt of reduced pensions because of the marriage bar, that ‘we do not as yet have the resources as a country to be in a position to fund what it would cost’; and if he will now address this issue.
– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 25th May, 2016.
R E P L Y
The ‘marriage bar’ describes a rule that existed in most of the public service and some private sector employments, where women were required to leave their employment on marriage. This practice was abolished in 1973 when we joined the EEC. As employees in the public service generally paid a reduced rate of PRSI which provided no cover for the State pension, the marriage bar would not have impacted on State pension entitlement. It would have impacted on their continuing public service employment, and eventual entitlement to a Public Service pension. This is a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
Clare questions David Begg’s appointment as chair of the Pensions Authority.
Questions put to Minister Joan Burton in relation to the number of low paid jobs, shows the boasting of this government about “getting everyone back to work” is in actual fact a crusade to provide employers with low-wage jobs, with precarious condition for workers and the taxpayer picking up the tab through having to subvent inadequate hours and wages with Social Protection payments like Family Income Supplement. Her Department should more aptly be named the Department of Corporate Welfare rather than Social Protection.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection given recently released figures from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government showing that the number of homeless families has risen by 76% since the beginning of 2015, the steps she will take to combat homelessness by increasing the Rent Supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Clare Daly.