Thursday, 6 July 2023
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Public Sector Pensions
170. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is in a position to sanction an increase in An Post pensions which have been signed off by the Trustees. [33421/23]
On 9 March 2023 An Post wrote to my Department seeking consent to the second phase of their current pay agreement which provides for a 2% increase in pay from 1st January 2023. In addition to this, on foot of a recent Labour Court decision, An Post also wrote to my Department on 9 March seeking approval to make increases to pensions in payment and deferred pensions of a 5% increase from 1 January 2022 and a 1% increase from 1 July 2023.
In accordance with the relevant Code of Practice from the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, An Post must seek Ministerial approval to increase pensions and deferred pensions for members of the An Post superannuation scheme. As per Circular 16/2021, all such proposals require NewERA’s views, as well as a business case setting out the strategic, policy and financial rationale for the proposed increase. Circular 16/2021 states that pension approval requests should be submitted for approval well in advance of any decision to implement changes in acknowledgement of the necessary processes that must be completed and in order to ensure that pension increases are not unduly delayed. It should be recognised that the time taken for the pension approval process is necessary to ensure that robust governance procedures are in place.
Following receipt of the requests and associated documentation in recent weeks and months from An Post, the standard process is now being followed, with NewERA’s views and assessment by officials being required prior to the consent of both Ministers being sought.
Consideration of the consent requests is well advanced and a report from NewERA was submitted on 29 June. The two Shareholding Departments will now expedite consideration of the matter. It is not possible, at this point, to set out the specific timeframe within which the decision-making process will be concluded.