Funcion urges Government to support Sinn Féin's motion on Pension Equality and Fairness
Speaking today during the debate on the Sinn Féin motion on Pension Equality and Fairness Sinn Féin's Spokesperson on Childcare Kathleen Funchion said that
"As a woman, the issue of the shocking gender pension gap in this State leaps out to me. It’s also a critical issue for many women in my constituency who feel they are being discriminated against for caring for either their children or other relatives in need of care.
"On a very basic level, let’s consider the cost of childcare in this state - and how that impacts a woman’s capacity to remain in the workforce. We live in a society where the cost of childcare can be the cost of a second mortgage. For parents with several children, the cost for most families is completely out of reach. Understandably, a parent, often the woman, leaves her job to become the primary caregiver. Yes, this a preferred choice for many. For others, it’s not. Regardless of the preference, these women should not be then penalised via pension payments and contributions once returning to the workforce.
"I acknowledge some effort have been made through a certain amount of credits being allocated. But the reality is many women still have to sign onto the dole upon retirement and have a reduced pension.
"The gender pension gap in this state is 37%, the fifth highest pension gap in the whole of the EU. Only 18% of those receiving the full contributory pension are women. This is shocking.
"Our motion is an effort to correct the Pension reforms made in 2012 which hit women unfairly.
"It’s not bad enough that the gender pay gap is around 14%, but to think the pension gap is knocking on the door of 40% is atrocious.
"Women who have worked their whole lives, or indeed, who are still working deserve fair and appropriate provision for later in life. Women contribute an enormous amount to the workforce and wider society. It is pitiful that we have to come to this where we feel we have to fight for basic equality on pension rights, often after a lifetime of commitment to employment
"It’s past the time of us all being shocked - and offering words of solidarity with women. If we are truly serious about equal rights, and women’s rights, then other parties should support this motion.