Thursday, 14 July 2022
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Sector Staff
333. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will respond to matters raised in a correspondence (details supplied) regarding the public sector transfer network agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39416/22]
The rules governing transfer of service in pre-existing schemes are primarily set out in Department of Finance Letter to Personnel Officers 24 April 1979 ‘Draft Transfer Scheme’ and Letter to Personnel Officers 30 January 1981. That scheme has its origins in section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963, which, in short, provides that a person who is employed in a pensionable capacity in an “approved organisation”, may transfer pensionable service from one approved organisation to another.
The transfer scheme rules do also provide a mechanism by which an individual may reckon (i.e. have service deemed pensionable) and transfer prior non-pensionable service, subject to certain eligibility criteria. Part 1, paragraph 2(2) of the 1979 letter allows for an individual to reckon such service, stating that the person must have belonged to a category of employees which was not covered by a pension scheme at the time and:
the organisation subsequently introduced a pension scheme for the category of employee concerned,
the organisation’s pension scheme allows for the reckoning of such service in the event of the member being appointed to a post covered by the scheme (for example, a temporary employee appointed to a permanent post).
Service will not be transferable where the person has opted out of the first organisation's pension scheme. However, where, subsequent to the date on which the person left the organisation, that organisation's employees were allowed to change any such option, the person may, if he so chooses, be deemed to have changed his option. ( Letter to Personnel Officers 30 January 1981, par. 2(d))
In any such cases the employee will be required to make an appropriate payment to the second employer in respect of any contribution (including interest) which they would have been required to pay, or would have had an option to pay, in respect of the service now becoming reckonable, if they had remained in the first group. Any retained benefits paid in respect of the prior service would also be required to be refunded plus interest.
In the first instance, it is a matter for the original employing body to determine whether the prior service given could be deemed pensionable subject to the criteria set out in the transfer scheme. Should the body require assistance in that regard, they can contact the pensions policy section of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.