2nd January 2019
President Higgins, on 26 December 2018, signed into law the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 (No. 39 of 2018) which increases the compulsory retirement age for teachers (and public servants generally) to 70. It is important to be aware that this concerns compulsory retirement age only; it does not alter existing provisions regarding earlier retirement.
The Public Service Superannuation Act of 2004 had removed a compulsory retirement age for those who entered the public service on or after 1 April of that year. Earlier entrant teachers (leaving aside the temporary measure in Circular 0027/2018 (pdf)) had a compulsory retirement age effective from 31 August following their 65th birthday. (Teachers in service on 31 August 1979 whose 65th birthday falls in the months of July or August could
previously continue teaching up to the end of the school year following their 66th birthday). Each of these earlier arrangements for compulsory retirement is changed by the 2018 legislation.
As had been the case with previous retirement schemes, the new Act contains an enabling provision to allow for teachers’ retirements to occur at the end of a school year rather than on the date of their 70th birthday (which is the more general date of required retirement in the public service).
The 2018 Act also allows the Minister for the Public Service to prescribe an age, higher than 70 years, upon which public servants shall, at the latest, retire. This power is subject to a range of considerations set out in the Act, including its likely effect on recruitment, promotion and retention of staff, the State Pension age at the time, and any evidence of an increase in normal life expectancy in the State provided by the Central Statistics Office.