2.1.1 This chapter outlines the superannuation terms applying to each of the public service groups coming within the Commission's terms of reference - i.e. civil service, Permanent Defence Forces, Garda Síochána, education sector, health service, local authorities, and non-commercial state sponsored bodies. A brief historical review of the development of the Civil Service Pension Scheme is given at the outset, as with some exceptions, the general trend has been for developments in public service pension arrangements to take place first in the civil service, before passing to all other areas of the public service. A more complete review of the superannuation arrangements applying to each area of the public service, and their historical development, will be given in the final report.
2.2 Historical Development of the Irish Civil Service Pension Scheme
2.2.1 The system of occupational pension provision which is now in place dates from a number of different arrangements in the eighteenth century for providing for the needs of British civil servants in their old age. These were formalised in legislation during the nineteenth century. The first Superannuation Act devoted exclusively to pensions was in 1834. The 1859 Superannuation Act consolidated earlier changes in the Civil Service Pension Scheme. It fixed the pension scale in 60ths of final salary after 40 years' service, and established a minimum voluntary retirement age of 60. Legislation passed in 1909 introduced lump sum benefits based on 30ths of annual salary (maximum of 1½ times salary after 45 years) plus emoluments on death and retirement and of pension based on 80ths to give half pay plus lump sum after 40 years' service. The 1909 changes applied to male officers only.
2.2.2 Few changes were made to the pension scheme in the early years of the new State. In 1954, the 1909 changes were extended to female officers. The 1956 Superannuation Act allowed civil servants to allocate part of their pension in favour of pensions for dependants. The 1963 Superannuation and Pensions Act introduced transferability of service within the public service and made available in a limited form the granting of professional added years (this was subsequently widened in the 1985 ad-hoc scheme). The 1964 Superannuation Act provided for the indexation of pensions by means of Statutory Instrument (prior to this, an Act of the Oireachtas was necessary for the granting of increases to pensions).
2.2.3 With effect from 23 July 1968 a contributory pension scheme was introduced in respect of the widows and orphans of deceased members. The contribution rate was set at 1½% of salary. An ex-gratia widows' and children's scheme was introduced in respect of civil servants who retired or died before the effective date of the contributory scheme. With effect from 1 January 1970 a non-contributory pension scheme was introduced for whole-time non-established State employees. This was followed in 1 December 1978 by a contributory widows' and orphans pension scheme for non-established state employees.
2.2.4 Arising from a joint management/staff working party report concluded in 1973, certain changes in the Civil Service Pensions Schemes were introduced. These included:
- improvement in the fraction used in calculating retirement lump sums and death gratuities from 1/30 to 3/80 per year of service, providing for maximum lump sum of 1½ times pay after 40 years instead of 45 years
- reckoning of service in days rather than completed years
- grant of added years on ill-health retirement
- reduction in qualifying period for retirement benefits (pension and lump sum) from 10 to 5 years
- abolition of minimum qualifying period (5 years) for death gratuity and widows' and children's pension
- preservation of pension rights after 5 years' service
- purchase of added years at the officer's expense
2.2.5 In 1975, provision was made for automatic increase in pensions from 1 July each year in line with wages and salaries in the civil service. This was later amended to increase pensions from the same effective date as that of increases applied to salaries of serving staff.
2.2.6 In 1981, the widows' and orphans' contributory pension scheme became the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme when it was extended to female civil servants. In 1984, the scheme was extended to cover all children of a member, regardless of the member's marital status, and to include the spouses of post-retirement marriages.
2.2.7 In 1987/88, a limited voluntary early retirement scheme was introduced and ran for a number of years with the objective of reducing numbers in the civil service (this was later extended to other areas of the public service).
2.2.8 In 1987, the Government decided that enhanced superannuation benefits should be granted to Secretaries coming within the remit of the Top Level Advisory Committee (TLAC) who reach the end of their seven year terms before age 60.
2.2.9 In 1995, full (Class A) PRSI was introduced for established civil servants appointed on or after 6 April 1995. Prior to that date, established civil servants (and most public servants) were classified for modified (Class B) PRSI cover. As part of the new arrangements, the pension scheme was made contributory in the case of new entrants.
SUPERANNUATION TERMS OF PUBLIC SERVANTS
2.3 Civil Service
2.3.1 The Pension Schemes in respect of civil servants are set out in the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1963, the Superannuation and Pensions Act, 1976, various Statutory Instruments made under those Acts, and Circulars issued by the Department of Finance. There are separate main schemes and spouses' and children's schemes for established and non-established civil servants. For established civil servants, a number of different pension arrangements apply in respect of those who become established on or after 6 April 1995.
2.3.2 Membership of the main superannuation scheme is automatic for all established civil servants. Membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for male officers becoming established after 1 January 1969 and female officers becoming established after 31 May 1981, and was optional for officers becoming established before those dates.
2.3.3 For non-established civil servants, membership of the main superannuation scheme is automatic for all staff appointed in a whole-time personal capacity on or after 1 January 1970, except for certain staff on short-term contracts. Membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for all male non-established civil servants becoming pensionable after 30 November 1978, and for all female non-established civil servants becoming pensionable after 31 May 1986, and was optional for those becoming pensionable before those dates.
2.4 Civil Servants becoming established prior to 6 April 1995
2.4.1 On retirement on age, ill-health or redundancy grounds, an established civil servant, having at least 5 years pensionable service, qualifies for:-
(a) a pension of 1/80th of pensionable remuneration per year of pensionable service subject to a maximum of ½ pensionable remuneration; and
(b) a lump sum of 3/80ths of pensionable remuneration per year of pensionable service, subject to a maximum of 1½ times pensionable remuneration.
2.4.2 Retirement age is 65, although a civil servant may retire with immediate payment of pension at any time after age 60. A prison officer may retire at age 50 or thereafter provided he or she has 30 years' continuous service in the prison service (a prison officer must retire at age 60).
2.4.3 Pensionable remuneration includes salary and pensionable emoluments. Salary is the actual rate of salary held on the last date of pensionable service provided that there has not been a promotion, or a personal increase in salary, in the last three years of service. Where there has been such a promotion or personal increase in salary, benefits are based on an average of the final three years of pensionable service. Pensionable emoluments include allowances in the nature of pay, but do not include overtime, gratuities, or expense payments. Pensionable emoluments are subject to a three-year average.
2.4.4 Pensionable service is actual paid service as an established civil servant, together with any paid temporary service, service transferred from elsewhere in the public sector under the Transfer of Service Scheme, and any additional service purchased by the civil servant under the Purchase Scheme. In the case of prison officers, service after 20 years is doubled up to a maximum of 40 years' pensionable service (thus, a prison officer will qualify for maximum pension after 30 years actual service, on meeting the minimum retirement age of 50)
2.4.5 There is also provision for notional added years (maximum 10 years) for professional civil servants under section six of the Superannuation and Pensions Act, 1963 and for professional, technical and specialist civil servants under the Ad Hoc Added Years Scheme which was introduced in 1985. Notional added years also apply in ill-health and redundancy cases.
2.4.6 A civil servant may qualify for ill health early retirement benefits provided he or she has at least five years' pensionable service. Pension and lump sum are calculated as outlined above. Account is taken of an additional period of notional service (usually six and two-thirds years), calculated by reference to the length of actual service given and potential service to retirement age. In certain very limited circumstances a special higher rate of pension (Injury Warrant) may be payable to an officer who is forced to retire because of injury sustained in the performance of official duties, or to his or her spouse and children where the injury results in death.
2.4.7 A TLAC Secretary who reaches the end of his or her 7 year term before age 60 may be allowed the option of early retirement with enhanced superannuation benefits. These consist of an award of up to 10 added years and a special severance gratuity of six months salary on the terms specified in sections six and seven of the Superannuation and Pensions Act, 1963. These terms are subject to the application of special abatement provisions if the Secretary concerned subsequently obtains employment in the public sector.
2.4.8 A short service gratuity may be payable where a civil servant retires from an established civil service post on ill-health grounds, with less than five years' pensionable service. If he or she has a minimum of one year's pensionable service a gratuity of one twelfth of pensionable remuneration on the last day of established service is payable for each year of reckonable service (with pro-rata entitlement for part of a year). In addition, if the civil servant has a minimum of two years reckonable service, a lump sum equal to 3/80ths of pensionable remuneration multiplied by the number of years of reckonable service may be payable (with pro-rata entitlements for part of a year)
2.4.9 On death in service, a death gratuity is payable to the legal personal representative. This amounts to a minimum of one year's pensionable remuneration, or, if greater, the lump sum that would have been payable if the civil servant had retired on ill-health grounds on the date of death (subject to a maximum of 1½ times pensionable remuneration).
2.4.10 Spouses' and Children's pensions are also payable, where the civil servant is a member of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme (or where the ex gratia spouses' and children's pension scheme applies, in respect of those who retired before 23 July 1968). If death occurs after retirement, the spouse's pension is one-half of the pension in payment on the date of death. Where the civil servant retires on ill-health grounds, or dies in service, the spouse's pension is one half of the retirement pension that would have applied had he or she served to age 65 (or age 60 in the case of a prison officer). Children's pensions are payable in respect of dependent children, defined as children under the age of 16, children between the age of 16 and 21 in full-time education or vocational training, and children with a disability (who may qualify for a child's pension for life). A higher rate of child's pension is payable where no spouse's pension is being paid. A maximum of one-half the deceased's pension applies to the total amount of children's pensions payable.
2.4.11 Preservation of benefit applies where a civil servant resigns or leaves service before age 60 having at least five years service, with pension and lump sum coming into payment at age 60. Benefits are based on pensionable service and pensionable remuneration at the date of leaving, as uprated by pay increases applied to the former civil servant's grade since the date of leaving. A preserved death gratuity is payable if death occurs before age 60. Preserved pension rights for spouses' and children's benefits become effective on the death of the former civil servant. As an alternative to preservation, where the civil servant transfers to another area of the public sector, his or her pensionable service can generally be transferred to the relevant pension scheme. If the civil servant has less than five year's service on leaving, and does not transfer service to another public sector organisation, his or her contributions under the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme are refunded.
2.4.12 Pensions in payment are increased with effect from the operative date of any relevant pay increases. Pensioners benefit from all general pay increases and, in general, from special pay increases which apply to their former grade as a whole.
2.4.13 Civil Servants do not make an explicit contribution under the main pension scheme. However, for pay determination purposes, it has been accepted in a number of arbitration findings that an implicit contribution is made through salary being set at a lower level to take account of the benefits payable under the pension scheme (see section 9.4 below). An explicit periodic contribution of 1½% of remuneration is made in respect of membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme (a further deduction of 1% of pensionable remuneration is made from retirement lump sum or death gratuity in respect of each year of pensionable service for which periodic contributions have not been made).
2.5 Civil Servants who become established on or after 6 April 1995
2.5.1 The terms set out in section 2.4 above apply to established civil servants who are in modified (Class B) PRSI. Persons appointed as established civil servants on or after 6 April 1995 are in Class A PRSI and their pensions are co-ordinated or integrated with the State Social Insurance system. The purpose of integration is to take account of the entitlement to Social Insurance benefits in making up a portion of replacement income at retirement. Integration applies to both pension (lump sum is unaffected) and contributions. The difference in arrangements applying to established civil servants paying full PRSI are set out hereunder.
2.5.2 An explicit main scheme contribution of 5% applies. Salary scales are uplifted to 20/19ths of the salary scale applicable to those in modified (Class B) PRSI to take account of this contribution. The 5% contribution comprises 3½% of net remuneration (this term is explained at paragraph 2.5.4 below) in respect of pension and 1½% of remuneration in respect of lump sum. The 1½% contribution under the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is based on remuneration.
2.5.3 Pension is calculated on the basis of net pensionable remuneration (as defined in paragraph 2.5.4 below), while the lump sum or death gratuity is calculated on the basis of pensionable remuneration (as defined in paragraph 2.4.3 above).
2.5.4 Net remuneration is defined as current salary plus pensionable emoluments, less twice the maximum rate of Social Insurance contributory old age pension payable to a single person with no dependants. Net pensionable remuneration is defined as salary plus pensionable emoluments at date of retirement, less twice the maximum rate of Social Insurance contributory old age pension payable to a single person with no dependants. In the case of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme, the calculation of net pensionable remuneration is readjusted so that a deduction of only one times the maximum single rate of contributory old age pension is applied.
2.5.5 In certain circumstances a supplementary pension is payable in respect of periods during which the pensioner is not employed in any capacity which involves a Social Insurance contribution and, due to causes outside his or her control, fails to qualify for Social Insurance benefit or qualifies for such benefit at less than the maximum personal rate. The rate of supplementary pension will be sufficient to bring the occupational pension to the rate which would have been payable had it been based on pensionable remuneration instead of net pensionable remuneration.
2.6 Non-established Civil Servants
2.6.1 Non-established civil servants, including industrial civil servants, generally have the same pension terms as established staff, with the exception that, as these staff are in full (Class A) PRSI, the pensions of all non-established civil servants are integrated with State Social Insurance benefits. Thus, pension is calculated by reference to net pensionable remuneration (as explained at paragraph 2.5.4 above) in all cases. There is no pension contribution under the main scheme. A contribution rate of 1½% of net remuneration applies under the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme. Net pensionable remuneration is not readjusted when calculating spouses' and children's pensions (unlike the position of civil servants who become established on or after 6 April 1995 - see paragraph 2.5.4).
2.6.2 The retirement age is 65/66 years, with no provision to retire at an earlier age, other than on grounds of ill-health. Non-established staff are not eligible for professional added years.
2.6.3 Extra-statutory gratuities are payable to part-time staff in the civil service who have worked for 10 or more hours per week and have completed five years service. They are payable on retirement after age 60 and are calculated at the rate of one weeks pay for each year of service up to 15 years and two weeks pay for each subsequent year subject to a maximum of 78 weeks.
2.7 Permanent Defence Forces
2.7.1 The Defence Forces (Pensions) Acts, 1932 to 1975, empower the Minister for Defence, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to make pension schemes to provide retired pay, pensions and gratuities for and in respect of members of the Permanent Defence Forces. The terms and conditions for the grant of pension, etc. are contained in the Defence Forces (Pensions) Schemes, 1937 to 1994.
2.7.2 The provisions of the main pension scheme as regards personal pension, gratuity, etc. apply to all personnel (commissioned officers, enlisted personnel, and members of the Army Nursing Service and the Chaplaincy Service) from the date of joining the Permanent Defence Force.
2.7.3 Membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for male officers commissioned after 31 December 1970 and female officers commissioned after 31 December 1984, and was optional for officers serving before those dates. In the case of enlisted personnel, membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for males enlisting after 31 January 1978 and females enlisting after 31 December 1984, and was optional for those serving before those dates.
2.7.4 The Defence Forces Pensions Schemes are a distinct superannuation code intended to cater for the special requirements of the Defence Forces and are quite different from the codes applicable elsewhere in the public service. Distinctive features of the code include provision for the immediate payment of pensions and gratuities regardless of age after relatively short periods of service (five years for gratuity only and 12 years for pension and gratuity in the case of officers; three years for gratuity only and 21 years for pension and gratuity in the case of enlisted personnel) and the absence of provision for the preservation of benefits.
2.7.5 Unlike most other public service superannuation codes, the Defence Forces code is generally not directly pay-related in that many of its benefits - pensions in particular - are not directly based on pay at date of retirement, but are flat rates based on rank, service in rank, and overall service. Benefits under the code are generally revised in line with movements in the pay of serving personnel.
2.7.6 Members of the Permanent Defence Force are not insured for Occupational Injuries Benefits under the Social Welfare Acts. Instead, they are covered by the Army Pensions Acts which constitute a military occupational injuries code. Disability pensions may be granted under those Acts to retired officers and enlisted personnel suffering from permanent disablement due to an injury or wound attributable to military service or due to disease arising from overseas service with the United Nations. The level of pension depends on the degree of disablement which is assessed by the Army Pensions Board (the statutory body appointed to adjudicate on pension applications). Under taxation legislation, all disability pensions under those Acts are exempt from income tax. Provision is also made for the grant of allowances to the dependants (including spouse and children) of deceased military personnel where death was attributable to service. Where a person is eligible for payments under both the Army Pensions Acts and the Defence Forces Pensions Schemes, the payment under the Schemes would generally be subject to abatement.
2.7.7 There is no explicit contribution to the main pension scheme, except in the case of officers commissioned on or after 6 April 1995, who pay the full (Class A) rate of PRSI. A 5% contribution was introduced for these officers in the same way as for established civil servants (with consequent uprating of salaries by 1/19th). A contribution of 1½% of pay applies to members of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme.
2.8 Commissioned Officers
2.8.1 Officers qualify for an immediate gratuity (without pension) on retirement with five or more but less than 12 years' service. They qualify for both immediate pension and gratuity after 12 years' service (or after 10 years if retired on medical grounds) - irrespective of age in every case. The qualifying period for maximum pension of ½ maximum pay, plus military service allowance (MSA), varies according to rank and service, e.g. a Captain or Commandant may qualify for maximum pension after 23/24 years' service. The minimum pension after 12 years' service is about 20% of maximum pay (plus MSA).
2.8.2 In the case of officers commissioned on or after 6 April 1995, who pay full PRSI, integration with the Social Insurance system applies in line with arrangements applying to established civil servants appointed after that date.
2.8.3 Certain officers such as doctors, engineers, and pilots, are paid extra remuneration in respect of their specialised duties and are categorised as special service officers for superannuation purposes. This extra remuneration is fully reflected in the calculation of pay-related gratuities and fixed percentage additions to the standard rates of pension are made. Medical and Dental Officers qualify for an addition of 20% while other categories such as engineers and pilots qualify for 10% extra.
2.8.4 The maximum retirement lump sum of 1½ times pay (plus MSA) is payable only on retirement within two years of the normal retiring age which varies according to rank and ranges from age 54 for a Captain to age 63 for a Lieutenant-General.
2.9 Enlisted Personnel
2.9.1 Enlisted personnel qualify for an immediate gratuity (without pension) on retirement with three or more and less than 21 years' service. They qualify for both immediate pension and gratuity after 21 years' service (or after 12 years if discharged on medical grounds) - regardless of age in every case. Maximum benefits are payable after 31 years' service while maximum retirement age is 60.
2.9.2 Pension consists of a basic flat rate pension (which varies according to rank) in respect of 21 years' service, together with an addition to basic pension of 40% of the rate of MSA. An additional increment in respect of each year of service in excess of 21 up to an overall maximum of 31 years is also payable and the addition for MSA is increased from 40% to a maximum of 50% of the allowance (payable after 31 years' service). A gratuity of 25 weeks' pay (plus MSA) is payable after 21 years' service and the maximum gratuity is 45 weeks pay after 31 or more years' service.
2.9.3 Minimum pension after 21 years' service represents between 36% and 39% of maximum pay (plus MSA) depending on rank, while the maximum after 31 years' service ranges from 47% to 53% of maximum pay.
2.9.4 Enlisted personnel pay Class H PRSI, and so are fully insured for all benefits under the Social Welfare Acts, except Occupational Injuries Benefits (see 2.7.6 above).
2.9.5 The 21 year pension (plus MSA addition) is payable to a pensioner during his or her lifetime, but the additional increment for service in excess of 21 years and the supplementary 10% of MSA cease to be payable when the pensioner becomes entitled to a Social Insurance Retirement Pension at age 65, or an Old Age (Contributory) Pension at age 66. The withdrawal of the additional increment is in accordance with the principle of integration of occupational benefits with Social Insurance benefits in the case of employees who are fully insured under the Social Welfare Acts.
2.9.6 Certain forms of extra remuneration are reckonable for superannuation purposes. These payments are fully reckonable in the calculation of pay-related gratuities and an addition of 3% of the standard rates of pension is payable in respect of each additional payment, subject to a maximum of 6% of the standard rates of pension.
2.10 Members of the Army Nursing Service (ANS) and the Chaplaincy Service
2.10.1 The superannuation arrangements of members of the ANS and the Chaplaincy Service are quite different from those of officers and enlisted personnel. Where a member of either service qualifies for a pension, no gratuity is payable and there is no provision for the payment of survivors' benefits. Generally, benefits are determined by reference to pay and service on retirement.
2.10.2 Where service is five years or more but less than 20 years, a gratuity of one month's reckonable pay is payable for each year of service, subject to a maximum of one year's pay in the case of the ANS and 19 months' pay in the case of the Chaplaincy Service.
2.10.3 The minimum qualifying service required for pension is 20 years (or 10 years if retired on medical grounds) and maximum pension is payable after 30 years' service. Pension is based on 1/60th of reckonable pay at date of retirement for each year of service. An additional 1/60th is payable for each year of service in excess of 20, subject to a maximum pension of 2/3rds of pay after 30 years' service. There are no minimum age limits to qualify for pension or gratuity and maximum retirement age for both Services is 65 years.
2.10.4 Benefits are non-contributory, except in the case of persons appointed on or after 6 April 1995, to whom a 5% pension contribution applies.
2.11 Garda Síochána
2.11.1 The Garda Síochána (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923 and the Garda Síochána Act, 1924 enabled the Minister for Justice, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, to authorise the grant and payment of pensions or gratuities to members of the Garda Síochána and to their widows, children and dependants. Upon the amalgamation of the Garda Síochána with the Dublin Metropolitan Police the Minister was given the same powers by section 13 of the Police Forces (Amalgamation) Act, 1925.
2.11.2 The terms and conditions of the schemes are set out in the Garda Síochána Pensions Orders, 1925 to 1981, and agreements under the Garda Síochána Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme.
2.11.3 Membership of the main superannuation scheme is automatic for all members of the Garda Síochána. Membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for male Gardaí attested (i.e. appointed following completion of training) after 31 December 1971 and female Gardaí attested after 30 June 1984, and was optional for those in service before those dates.
2.11.4 In general, members of the Garda Síochána have the same pension terms as established civil servants, with the exceptions outlined below.
2.11.5 Gardaí may retire at age 50 if they have 30 years actual service in the force, with service in excess of 20 years being doubled (thus, maximum pension is payable after 30 year's actual service). At the time of equalising the pension arrangements of male and female Gardaí, members in service on 14 June 1983 were given the option to retire at age 50 after 25 years' service, subject to payment of a higher rate of pension contribution (see 2.11.7 below).
2.11.6 The compulsory retiring age is lower than for established civil servants - age 57 for a member of Garda, Sergeant and Inspector rank.
2.11.7 A periodic contribution rate of 1.75% of salary and certain pensionable allowances (or 2½% for those who opted for retirement after at least 25 years' service having attained the age of 50 years) applies under the main pension scheme, and 1½% in respect of membership of the spouses' and children's scheme, with outstanding contributions at retirement or death deducted from gratuities.
2.11.8 A special pension similar to that payable to civil servants (see paragraph 2.4.6 above) is payable where the member is incapacitated due to an injury received in the execution of duty, without the member's own default. A statutory scheme of compensation also applies. A special survivor's pension is payable where the member is killed in the performance of his or her duty.
2.11.9 Members of the Garda Síochána who are attested on or after 6 April 1995, pay the full (Class A) rate of PRSI, and are subject to the same changes affecting superannuation arrangements - in relation to pension calculation and payment of contributions - as newly appointed established civil servants. The 5% periodic contribution rate for new entrants replaced the existing rate of 1.75%, and the salary scale and the rates of pensionable allowances which are subject to periodic contributions (i.e. Rent Allowance and Unsocial Hours Allowance) were uprated accordingly.
2.12 National and Second Level Teachers and Clerical Support Staff in Schools
2.12.1 The National School Teachers' Superannuation Schemes are made under the Teachers' Superannuation Act, 1928 and the Teachers' Superannuation (Amendment) Act, 1990. The principal scheme is the National School Teachers' Superannuation Scheme, 1934, as amended. The Secondary Teachers' Superannuation Scheme, 1929, as amended, is made under the Teachers' Superannuation Acts, 1928-1990.
2.12.2 Membership of the main superannuation scheme is automatic for national school teachers in pensionable teaching service (in general, teachers in permanent or temporary posts in national schools). Membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme is compulsory for male teachers becoming established after 30 June 1969 and female teachers becoming established after 31 May 1981 and was optional for persons who became established before those dates.
2.12.3 Membership of the main superannuation scheme is optional for secondary school teachers. A teacher may be admitted to membership of the scheme from a date not earlier than 15 months prior to the date of application for membership. Those opting to join the main superannuation scheme are required also to join the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme. Secondary school teachers who opt not to join the superannuation schemes pay the full Class A rate of PRSI, rather than the modified rate, and so are entitled to receive State Social Insurance benefits. (It has been agreed recently that the pension scheme for secondary school teachers will be compulsory for all new entrants, and that a new option to join the scheme will be given to those who had not previously joined.)
2.12.4 All employees of Vocational Educational Committees (including teachers) currently come within the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (see section 2.15 below). Separate pension schemes apply to clerical staff serving in national and secondary schools.
2.12.5 The pension schemes of national and secondary teachers and clerical support staff in schools generally offer the same terms as those applying to civil servants, with the exceptions outlined hereunder.
2.12.6. National teachers may retire with immediate pension and lump sum on or after age 55 years of age, provided they have completed 35 years of pensionable service. This provision has recently been extended to secondary and vocational teachers in the restructuring agreement referred to at 2.12.9 below.
2.12.7 A contribution rate of 5% of pensionable remuneration applies to teachers and clerical staff under the main superannuation schemes. A contribution rate of 1½% applies under the spouses' and children's schemes.
2.12.8 Following the introduction of full PRSI for those entering service on or after 6 April 1995, similar pension arrangements to those applying to established civil servants paying full PRSI apply. As a 5% contributory rate already applied under the main pension scheme, there was no uprating of salary scales for new entrants.
2.12.9 A new limited early retirement scheme was agreed as part of the restructuring agreement reached between the Department of Education and the teachers' unions in early 1997. This scheme involves three strands:
Strand I Teachers with not less than 15 years whole time or pensionable service who are consistently experiencing professional difficulties in their teaching duties
Strand II Teachers aged 55 years or more who, having served for a minimum of 20 years, wish to retire and whose school management verifies that such retirement would provide an opportunity to enhance the education service provided by the school by facilitating change such as the introduction of new skills and curriculum review
Strand III Teachers in posts surplus to requirements which will not be filled and who cannot readily be redeployed.
Special retirement terms, involving the granting of added years in certain circumstances, and immediate payment of pension with no actuarial reduction, apply. The full details of the scheme are set out in Appendix 2.1. Strands I and III are subject to an overall quota of 150 retirements per year. Strand II is subject to an overall quota of 250 retirements per year. Priority is given to older teachers under all three strands where the number of applications exceed the quota. All applications for early retirement under Strands I and II of the scheme are to be processed by an Early Retirement Advisory Committee (ERAC) which makes recommendations to the Minister for Education. Under the agreement the Scheme will operate on a pilot basis pending review in the light of the final report of the Commission on Public Service Pensions
2.13 Third Level Education
2.13.1 The academic, administrative, and technical staffs of third-level colleges are covered by a number of different schemes operated by the college or institution in which they are employed. In general, the more recently established institutions (e.g. Limerick and Dublin City Universities) have pension scheme terms similar to those applying in the civil service. However, in a number of the older institutions (e.g. Trinity, the NUI universities), some pension terms are quite different. These schemes are, in general, non-contributory and are funded by the Exchequer. The majority of staff contribute 1½% of pay for membership of the spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme. For new entrants taking up service on or after 6 April 1995, there is a 5% contribution for the main superannuation scheme (with consequent uprating of salaries by 1/19th). Staff of the Regional Technical Colleges come within the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (see section 2.15 below).
2.14 Health Service
2.14.1 The pension schemes in the Health Service are:
Voluntary Hospitals (Officers) Superannuation Scheme, 1969 (as amended in 1977) and the Voluntary Hospitals (Officers) Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme, 1986
Voluntary Hospitals (Non-Officers) Superannuation Scheme and the Voluntary Hospitals (Non-Officers) Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme, 1986
Nominated Health Agencies Superannuation Scheme and the Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme, 1986
These are non-statutory schemes. The employees of Health Boards and a number of other Health Bodies are included in the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (see section 2.15 below).
2.14.2 The pension terms of staff in the Health Service are broadly similar to those applying to established and non-established civil servants outlined above, with the following exceptions.
2.14.3 Psychiatric nurses coming under the Local Government Superannuation Scheme may retire after age 55, and their pensionable service in excess of 20 years is doubled.
2.14.4 Staff in the Health Service pay a 5% contribution to the main superannuation scheme. Those having full PRSI status have their pension benefits integrated with State Social Insurance benefits. The change in PRSI status for public servants appointed on or after 6 April 1995 was implemented in those areas of the Health Service where modified PRSI formerly applied. As with teachers, there was no uprating of salary scales as a 5% pension contribution already applied to these staff.
2.14.5 Under the restructuring agreement reached with nurses in early 1997, two new retirement initiatives were agreed, and arrangements for their implementation are currently being finalised. These initiatives comprise a pre-retirement initiative, where nurses will be allowed job-share at age 55 and retire at age 60 with full pension credit for the job-sharing service, and a limited early retirement initiative. Both initiatives are subject to an annual quota and will operate on a pilot basis pending the Final Report of the Commission on Public Service Pensions. Further details on these initiatives are given in Appendix 2.2.
2.15 Local Authorities
2.15.1 The Minister for the Environment, with the consent the Minister for Finance, has responsibility for the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (LGSS), which is governed by the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1980. The two main schemes made under this Act are the Local Government (Superannuation Revision)(Consolidation) Scheme, 1986 which sets out the provisions previously contained in the non-statutory Superannuation Revision Scheme, 1977, and the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1956 (Consolidation) Scheme, 1987 which incorporates the provisions of the now repealed 1956 Superannuation Act. A number of other schemes have been made covering areas such as spouses' and children's pensions, transfer of service, and the purchase of notional service. A number of circular letters also apply.
2.15.2 The LGSS applies to officers and employees of local authorities, health boards, vocational educational committees, institutes of technology and regional technical colleges, and certain local government and health corporate bodies.
2.15.3 Under the LGSS, officers and employees have the same pension terms as established and non-established civil servants, respectively, with the exceptions outlined below.
2.15.4 Psychiatric nurses (as noted at 2.14.3 above) and fire brigade personnel, may retire after age 55, with their service in excess of 20 years' counting as double.
2.15.5 In the case of officers designated as professional under the Local Authority (Officers and Employees) Act, 1926, an addition of up to one-third is made to reckonable service where retirement takes place after 60 years of age.
2.15.6 As a pension contribution of 5% already applied under the main pension scheme, no uprating of salary took place when full PRSI was introduced in respect of all officers appointed on or after 6 April 1995.
2.15.7 Special early retirement terms apply to City and County Managers who are appointed on a non-renewable seven-year contract basis (similar to civil service TLAC Secretary terms - see 2.4.7 above)
2.16 Non-Commercial State Sponsored Bodies
2.16.1 Separate pension schemes (usually a main scheme and a spouses' and children's contributory pension scheme) apply to each of the non-commercial state sponsored bodies. In general, these schemes offer the same pension terms as apply to civil servants. The largest schemes, in respect of FAS, Forfas, and Teagasc, include approximately half of the public service employees in this area.
2.16.2 Fast accrual pension terms apply to certain full-time personnel under the schemes of a number of non-commercial state sponsored bodies (generally, retirement is between age 60 and 65). Whereas maximum pension of ½ pensionable remuneration is accrued after 24 years, the maximum lump sum is only 1½ times pension. However, individuals appointed to these positions who previously served elsewhere within the public sector may, if more favourable to them, have the standard 40 year pension arrangement applied, thus entitling them to a lump sum of up to 1½ times salary rather than 1½ times pension. The schemes involved include:
* Competition Authority (Chairman and Members)
* Labour Court ( Chairman and Members)
* Environment Protection Agency (Directors)
* Bord Pleanala (Chairman and Members)
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