Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Department of Education and Skills
233. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the actions taken to date to address errors in the estimated number of teachers retiring or leaving the system per year; the subsequent cost incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54023/18]
For the purposes of estimating costs as part of the annual Estimates process, the Department makes short-term forecasts, based on trend analysis, of the scale of teacher retirements expected for the following year.
The complexities in forecasting retirements are well understood, and it can be difficult in any given year to predict with absolute certainty the number of retirements which will take place in the education sector in any particular year. A key factor is that teachers make up the vast numbers of retirements in the education sector, but only a very small percentage retire on compulsory age grounds.
Notwithstanding these issues, it is important to say that the Department's approach has been robust and has provided a good indication of the scale of likely retirements and the expenditure implications.
Apart from the increases made to allocations as a result of pay agreements, for a number of years prior to Budget 2019 there had been no significant increase in the expenditure base to cover the costs of increased pensions expenditure. In that context, it was necessary to seek supplementary estimates to cover additional pension costs above what could be provided for from the Department's original budgetary allocation.
My Department, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, have worked closely to resolve this issue.
In Budget 2019, the Government allocated an additional €147 million in funding for pensions in the education sector. This was calculated on the basis of actuarial work undertaken by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform using data provided by the Department of Education and Skills.
More widely, as part of this year's Spending Review process, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published an actuarial review (Public Service Occupational Pensions in Ireland - Cash Flow Analysis) setting out the medium and long term expenditure implications of occupational pensions in the public sector, including the education sector. This is available at: .
The additional allocation of €147 million will be added to the Department's expenditure base and will mitigate the need for a supplementary estimate for pensions expenditure in the education sector next year.
Alongside additional funding from pay deals, this will bring the pensions allocation in the Department of Education and Skills to c. €1.35 billion in 2019 compared to a pre-supplementary allocation of c. €1.19 billion in 2018.