Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (236)

Seán Fleming

Question:

236. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position in relation to the restoration of a public service pension to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19231/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am taking it that the question refers to the impact of the Government’s pension increase policy, and not to the amelioration and eventual abolition of the Public Service Pension Reduction.

As the Deputy will be aware, pay cuts were imposed on serving public servants under the FEMPI legislation in 2010 and 2013. The pension recipient in this case was protected from the effect of the 2013 pay cut by the operation of what is known as the ‘grace period’, whereby his pension benefits were calculated based on the pay rates that applied prior to the 2013 cut (i.e. based on the rates of pay in place after the 2010 cut had been applied).

To answer the question fully, reference must first be had to what is happening in relation to the pay of serving public servants. Apart from pay restoration under the FEMPI legislation, which has now returned pay rates to the levels that applied prior to the 2013 pay cuts, pay increases in 2016 and 2017, and from 2018 on under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020 (PSSA), have the effect of bringing the salaries of serving public servants back up towards (or in the case of lower paid public servants, in excess of) the rates of pay that applied before the 2010 pay cut was applied.

Under the Government’s current pensions increase policy agreed as part of the PSSA, a pay increase is passed on to a ‘qualifying pension’ if the pensionable pay on which the pension is based is lower than the rate of pay of a serving member of staff (assuming the pension relates to the same grade and scale point) after the pay increase has been granted. Similar to the process that I have described for serving staff, the effect of those pension increases for a ‘qualifying pension’ is to bring the rate of pension up towards the pension rate that applies to an equivalent pension recipient with the same grade and scale point who retired prior to the FEMPI pay cut of 2010.

I can confirm that the individual in question is in receipt of a ‘qualifying pension’. Accordingly, he has qualified for, and been paid, pension increases on foot of both the 1 January 2018 and 1 October 2018 pay increases to the salaries of serving staff, and I can confirm that he will continue to qualify for further pension increases as the relevant pay increases are paid to serving staff under the terms of the PSSA.