Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Sector Pensions
65. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the cases of retired public servants who subsequently take up private employment will be reviewed; the reason such retired public servants have their pensions cut by half; if he will reconsider this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45845/19]
It is assumed that the Deputy is not referring to the abatement of a public service pension, which, in accordance with the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and other Provisions) Act 2012, only applies where a retired public servant, in receipt of a public service pension, takes up employment in the public service. Where a public servant in receipt of a public service pension takes up private sector employment there is no impact, in respect of abatement, on the public service pension.
It is taken, therefore, that the Deputy is referring to the payment of supplementary pensions.
Officers who are not members of the Single Scheme and who pay Class A PRSI during their employment in the public service have their public service occupational pension integrated with the Social Welfare system i.e. account is taken of any social welfare pension payable to the individual in calculating the occupational pension payable to that individual. Where an individual does not qualify for a social welfare pension or qualifies at less than the maximum rate of Contributory State Pension they may be entitled to the payment of a supplementary pension subject to meeting certain conditions.
In the case of Established Civil Servants who are not members of the Single Scheme those conditions are laid down in Circular 6/1995 – Revised Social Insurance Status and Conditions of Service of Certain Civil Servants.
In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Circular, the new rules apply to persons appointed to established civil service positions on or after 6 April 1995. The revised superannuation arrangements are set out at paragraph 13, which provides that:
" ... In the case of officers covered by Class A insurance, the following arrangements will apply:(a)no change will be made in the occupational lump sum; and
(b)the occupational pension will be calculated on the basis of 1/80th of net pensionable remuneration per year service. (Net pensionable remuneration means the amount by which pensionable remuneration exceeds twice the annual rate of social insurance old age contributory pension payable at the maximum rate to a person with no adult dependent or qualified children.) In the case of staff to whom the terms of the Superannuation (Prison Officers) Act, 1919 apply, the pension benefit for each year of service in excess of twenty will be 2/80ths of net pensionable remuneration.
Paragraph 18 of the Circular provides for payment of a supplementary pension as follows:
"18. The revised superannuation arrangements include provisions for the payment of a supplementary pension in certain circumstances to pensioners in respect of periods during which the pensioner is not employed in any capacity which involves a social insurance contribution and, due to causes outside his/her own control, fails to qualify for social insurance benefitor qualifies for such benefit at less than the maximum personal rate. The supplementary pension will be equal to the difference between (i) the occupational pension which would have been payable if it had been based on pensionable remuneration instead of net pensionable remuneration and
(ii) aggregate of the actual occupational pension payable and the actual rate of social insurance benefit payable (including any payments for dependents)."
It is understood that similar rules apply across the wider public service.
The grant of a supplementary pension under paragraph 18 of the Circular is not automatic and is conditional upon a number conditions as follows:
1. the individual must not be engaged in paid employment;
2. he or she does not qualify for social insurance benefit or fail to qualify for such benefit at the maximum rate; and
3. his or her failure to qualify must be due to causes outside his or her control.
The maximum supplementary pension payable to an individual is equivalent to the current rate of the contributory state pension. The actual rate of supplementary pension is dependent on many factors including length of service and final pensionable remuneration; this rate will not necessarily represent “half of the pension”.
Social Welfare Benefit is defined in the Rules as State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition); Illness Benefit, Invalidity Pension or Jobseekers Benefit payable under the Social Welfare Acts or any equivalent contributory benefit, by whatever name called, substituted for any of those benefits in any future enactment amending the Social Welfare Acts.