Teachers In Service Prior To 1 January, 2013

A teacher is in pensionable employment if s/he is employed in a permanent, temporary, part-time or substitute capacity in a national school.
Substitute service prior to 1 January 2005, may be credited for pension purposes following the payment by the teacher of superannuation contributions in respect of such previous service. Please see the separate section on Substitute Service.

The Primary School Teachers’ Pension Scheme is a contributory scheme. The basic average superannuation contribution is 5% of gross salary and allowances. Teachers who are members of the Spouses’, Civil Partners’ and Children’s Pension Scheme pay an additional contribution of 1.5% of gross salary and allowances.

Membership of the Spouses’ and Children’s Scheme determines what happens a teacher’s pension following her/his death either in service or after retirement. All teachers are not members of the Spouses’ and Children’s Scheme. Membership of this scheme has been compulsory for all male teachers appointed in a permanent or temporary capacity since 1 July 1969. Membership of the scheme is compulsory for all female national school teachers appointed in a permanent or temporary capacity on or after 1 June 1981.

However, teachers in service prior to these dates – 1 July 1969 (men), 1 June 1981 (women) – were given the opportunity of opting out of the scheme. Members who opted out of the scheme continue to pay contributions at an average rate of 5% of gross salary for the general pension scheme. Teachers who opted out of the Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme are not covered for benefit under the terms of the scheme.

Revised Spouses’, Civil Partners And Children’s Pension Scheme

Read DES circular PEN 14/05 (Word) Revision of the Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme Option to join the Revised Scheme.

A revised option to join the Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme was extended to the women who opted out of the scheme at the time of the original option in 1981. (The scheme became compulsory for all women who commenced teaching since 1 November 1981).

The DES confirmed to the INTO that all primary (and secondary) teachers in service on or after 1 April 2004 had the option to join the Revised Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme.

The contribution rate that applied to the revised offer was as follows:

  • Periodic Contributions: 2% of salary;
  • Deductions in respect of service prior to joining the scheme: 1.5% of final salary per outstanding year.

In summary, teachers either pay either 5% or 6.5% (members of the Spouses’ and Children’s scheme) of gross salary and allowances in pension contributions.

Teachers In Service From 1 January, 2013

Teachers who commenced service from 1 January, 2013 or who have broken service for 26 weeks or more since that date (note: approved leave of absence e.g. Career Break of Maternity Leave is not broken service), or have become “Single” Scheme members under the terms of Circular 07/2013 (PDF).

A teacher is in pensionable employment if s/he is employed in a permanent, temporary, substitute or part-time capacity in a national school.

The Contribution rates are 3.5% of net pensionable remuneration and 3% of pensionable remuneration. This contribution automatically includes pensions for spouses or civil partners and eligible children.

Introduction Of ASC In January 2019

Reduction in current overall pension contribution as PRD ends

The DES has issued Circular 0084/2018 (PDF) providing for the introduction of the Additional Superannuation Contribution (ASC) from 1 January 2019. The ASC replaces PRD (the “pension levy”) and reduces the current overall contribution. The revised ASC thresholds (below which no ASC is paid) are common to all, whereas the ASC rate is lower for a member of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (“Single Scheme”) – in general, Single Scheme members entered the public service on or after 1 January 2013.

Examples of Change from January 2019

  1. Teacher in the pre-2013 Pension Scheme
  2. Teacher in the Single Scheme

For a person in the pre-2013 public service pension scheme, s/he currently pays no PRD on income up to €28,750. With the introduction of the ASC this threshold is raised to €32,000, reducing liability by €325. There is no change to previous rates, i.e. on income between €32,000 and €60,000 ASC Is charged at 10%, and at 10.5% on amounts over €60,000.

For example, a pre-2013 scheme member who earns €58,000 will pay €2,600 (or 4.5% of earnings) in ASC, compared with a current liability of €2,925 (just over 5% of earnings). As mentioned above, the liability is reduced by a standard €325 for 2019.

Reduction in liability (2019) for all pre-2013 scheme teachers = €325

For this teacher (generally a post-1 January 2013 entrant), the same change to the threshold applies. There is also a reduction in the ASC rate compared to the current PRD. The earnings band (€28,000) between €32,000 and €60,000 is no longer charged at 10% but at 6.66%, with the balance over €60,000 charged at 7%.

For a teacher on €40,000, for example, this will mean an ASC of €533 (1.3% of earnings) compared with a current PRD of €1,125 (2.8% of earnings). This is a reduction in liability of €592 for 2019 (€325 due to the threshold change plus €267 due to the lower rate).

Reduction in liability for example of Single Scheme teacher = €592.

Other Issues in Circular

The DES Circular stresses the importance of a teacher being correctly identified on the DES system as being a member of the appropriate pension scheme. In addition, it attaches at Appendix A the full Circular from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) providing for changes in PRD/ASC. The annual thresholds and rates are set out at DPER’s Appendix 1 for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021 in respect of public servants who are covered by the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) and those who are not covered.


The introduction of a permanent ASC, to replace the PRD but with a reduced liability, is linked to retention of public service pension terms including pension parity (i.e. pensions in payment move in line with salaries). The recommendation to introduce an ASC arises from the Report of the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) of May 2017. The detail of their analysis may be read in that Report on the PSPC website – see chapter 4 Comparisons of Public Service and Private Sector Pensions”, pp.29-37.

Still have questions?

Submit your query by email to INTO. Please include your payroll or membership number.