Are pension savings only for construction site workers?

It may be well established at this stage that CPAS are considered to be the pension provider of choice for the construction sector, however, it has become quite clear to us in recent times that some might consider the ‘construction sector’ to include only those who work on sites, so we ask the question; are pension savings only for site workers?

Since the introduction of the Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) last year, and the  conversations around the #BuildingEquality campaign including the gender pay/pension gaps, we’ve had many discussions with company owners and office staff regarding their own pension provision.  These conversations usually take place when they contact us to set up or discuss their site workers’ pensions or when we are arranging site visits to give toolbox talks to their employees in the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS).

The team at CPAS receive regular phone calls from office staff who manage the pensions for their site workers but they never consider their own savings for retirement. When we ask them about their own pension savings we regularly hear ‘I don’t work on site’, ‘I didn’t think office staff could be included’, ‘I wouldn’t know how to go about it’. It should be said loud and clear  – CPAS have a pension solution for the entire workforce in the construction industry. This includes office staff and management, not just those who work on site.

From a survey in 2017, it was found that only a third of private-sector workers in Ireland have a pension plan. Furthermore, 60% of those without pension savings said they don’t actually know how to start one.

If you are one of the two thirds who do not have a pension plan in place and think you don’t need to save for your retirement, I give you three points to consider – the State pension amount, service gaps and longer life expectancy.

Paula Thornton, CPAS Business Development Manager

Firstly, think of your annual take home pay which you currently live on. Now, compare that figure to €12,652. Do you think you can you live on this amount a year? This is the current maximum State pension amount. Will this amount enable you to do all those things on your bucket list that you’ve planned for when you’re finished work?

During your career, have you already or do you plan to take a break for one reason or another? Maternity or paternity leave, home care, rearing of children or just a career break to travel? If you do, this can affect your State pension entitlements and can also reduce the number of years you have to save towards your retirement.

On a positive note, our life expectancy is increasing; 50% of those born today are expected to live to 100. Indeed some of our CPAS members in receipt of a monthly pension have reached the age of 100 with the oldest being 105! As well as this, the State pension age is increasing and will rise to 68 by 2028. While living longer is good news, this also means that our savings will have to stretch further and last a lot longer. Will €12,652 a year be enough? Taking these points into consideration, it makes perfect sense that everybody who works should be saving towards their retirement. Indeed, the government have issued a Roadmap for Pensions 2018 to 2023 where they are looking to make pension savings mandatory in the next 4 to 5 years.

With the introduction of the Construction SEO in October 2017 and the Mechanical SEO in March 2018, the construction sector have taken the lead in providing pension cover for their workers covered by these SEOs but let’s not forget about all the other workers in the construction sector who may not come under the cover of the SEOs.

Now is the time for the construction sector to make a difference to the future of all their employees through pension savings. CPAS can facilitate this on the same terms as site workers through the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS) or we can design bespoke pension arrangements for individual employers and members through the Construction Executive Retirement Savings (CERS). For self-employed individuals in the construction sector without pension cover we can also provide cover through the Construction Industry Retirement Trust (CIRT).

As the pension provider of choice for the construction sector CPAS knows your industry, so don’t hesitate to call us today and we can get you started!

For further information please contact us at (01) 407 1400 or by email at

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