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New 'Single' Public Service Pension Scheme

In January 2013, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin signed the order commencing new pension provisions for new entrants to the entire public service. This means new teachers entering teaching for the first time, or returning after a break in service of 26 weeks or more will have pensions based on career "average earnings" and not "final salary".

The DES published Circular 0007/2013, which outlines the details of the revised scheme.

Effective from 1 Jan 2013, the key provisions of the new 'Single Scheme' include:

  • Section 6 (2) states that Chapter 2 (the new Single Scheme) "does not apply to pre-existing public service pension schemes".
  • Section 10 defines who is and who is not a Scheme member and provides that a person who was serving in a public service body before the operative date and left but subsequently takes up an appointment as a pensionable public servant either "under the same contract of employment" or "within 26 weeks after his/her last day of service before that date", "shall not be a Scheme member". (This is the provision whereby a six month gap in a contract may bring a person into the 'Single' scheme).
  • Section 13 provides that the normal retirement age for a public servant is 66 years, or the age from which a person is eligible to receive a contributory State Pension.
  • Section 16 sets out the pension contributions to be paid by various categories of public servant. The rate for most public servants is (as at present and since 1995) 3.5% of net pensionable remuneration together with 3% of pensionable remuneration.
  • Section 19 sets out the methodology by which retirement benefits are calculated for most public servants, including teachers.
  • Section 40 provides that both referable amounts and pensions in payment will be increased following an annual examination by the Minister of the consumer price index and that both will be increased to reflect any such increase in the price index.