IRELAND - The Dublin-based pension fund of Ireland's largest general contracting company, John Sisk & Son, has found replacing its trust based defined contribution (DC) scheme has boosted take-up rates among Irish employees.

In a presentation about the firm's recent implementation of its contract based group personal pension plan (GPPP), replacing the trust based DC arrangement, Paul Hickey, financial director at John Sisk, said the scheme now has an in excess of 50% increase in scheme membership.

Under the trust based DC arrangement, the take-up rate was only a third of employees, while the fund did not perform the way the company had envisaged, said Hickey.

He said that the increase is due to improved communication with employees: "People didn't understand the benefit package," he said.

Alongside the scheme's revamp, the company has introduced a pensions forum and a helpline whereby employees can direct questions directly to forum members.

Moreover, the firm has arranged ongoing pension clinics and so called "staff roadshow presentations", said Hickey, adding that the key reason why scheme membership has increased is "simplicity".

Since 1997, the Sisk pension scheme has operated largely on a defined contribution (DC) basis, however, the company told IPE in April there are staff-retention benefits for businesses in providing employees with a defined benefit (DB) scheme.

At the time, the fund argued that for a young workforce with high turnover of staff, the DB option can end up being cheaper than the DC option.