IRELAND – The Irish government has proposed amending its social welfare legislation to incorporate the European occupational pensions directive.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2005 has been put forward by social affairs minister Séamus Brennan. It aims to “amend and extend” existing social welfare acts.

“The Bill also provides for a number of amendments to the Pensions Act 1990, to implement the EU Directive (2003/41/EC) on the activities and supervision of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs), and to provide for the implementation of the Pensions Board’s recommendations on funding standards and number of minor miscellaneous amendments,” the government said.

It said the amendments to the 1990 act were necessary to “provide for the transposition” of the directive.

And Section 31 of the new bill aims to amend Part IV of the act, which relates to the funding standard. This follows a review to “include additional grounds under which an extended funding period may be allowed”.

The Pension Board said in a commentary that the amended section would allow it “to grant an extension where the assets are less than expected due to investment market factors, or liabilities are greater than expected due to factors to be specified in regulations, or both”.

Earlier this month the new Finance Act revealed the government is planning to launch a general version of its tax-transparent Common Contractual Fund that is not confined to UCITS regulations – giving a boost to asset pooling.