The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This began in January 2014 with the abolition of the State pension (transition) available from 65 for those who satisfied the qualifying conditions, thereby standardising State pension age for all at 66 years, which is the current State pension age. This will increase to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028.
Re-introducing the State pension (transition) would have a significant Exchequer cost. It is estimated that the net cost of re-introducing this pension from 2018 would be in the region of €84 million per annum, and this is expected to increase over time.
There is no legally mandated retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers. While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement date of 65, in the context of the previous State pension arrangements, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment for one or more years, if both parties wish to do so.
In January 2016, an Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, was established specifically to examine the implications arising from prevailing retirement ages. The final report of the Group made a number of recommendations to support working and retirement practices. This included a request to the Workplace Relations Commission to prepare a Code of Practice under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 to help manage the engagement between employers and employees regarding retirement issues and longer working. The final report, the recommendations of which were accepted by Government in August 2016, is available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website.
People aged 65, where eligible, may claim appropriate working-age payments, such as Jobseekers benefit or Invalidity Pension, provided they satisfy the conditions of those schemes, and whether they qualify will depend upon their individual circumstances.
I hope this clarifies that matter for the Deputy.