Over 55,000 people are set to receive pension increases by March under a Government proposal to eliminate an anomaly which had the effect of penalising those who opted out of the workforce for reasons including caring responsibilities. 

The anomaly arose in 2012 when when the Government changed the way pension entitlements were calculated, resulting in around 80,000 people - mainly women raising families - seeing their pensions reduced. 

Last year, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe described the situation as "bonkers" during a post-Budget broadcast on RTÉ. 

Today, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said that in recent weeks her department had written to around 79,000 of those affected, and estimated that around 70% of those - around 55,000 - would see increases.

Speaking after the Employment Bar Association conference in Dublin, she expressed the hope that following a process of individual assessments, payment of the higher pension rates for beneficiaries will commence by the end of March - with some backdating.

The Minister also forecast that new legislation aimed at assisting those in precarious work will come into effect early next year. 

She described the legislation as "ground-breaking", adding that she hoped to see it passed by the Oireachtas before Christmas, as there was real cooperation across all parties. 

The legislation would enhance the rights of workers to greater certainty about their hours of work, with an entitlement to be placed on a band of hours that reflected the hours the actually worked over the previous 12 months.

Those affected would also be entitled to three hours payment if called in but then allocated no work.