Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (105)

Robert Troy

Question:

105. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if changes will be made to the Army pension system to allow retired personnel to work in more financially rewarding roles (details supplied). [21390/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The issue raised by the Deputy relates to the operation of Section 52 of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and other Provisions) Act 2012.

This provides that where a retired public servant who is in receipt of a public service retirement pension resumes employment anywhere in the public service on or after 1 November 2012, their pension is liable to abatement, that is, cessation or reduction as appropriate. The measure applies across the public service, including the Defence Forces. However, it does not apply in relation to employment with the commercial semi-State bodies or where public service pensioners are employed outside the public service.

Pension abatement in the public service is structured to ensure that a pensioner's combined earnings from their current public service job plus their existing public service retirement pension do not exceed the current equivalent of pensionable salary from their old public service job. Depending on those variables, the actual impact (if any) from the measure on a person’s public service pension will vary from person to person.  For example, where a person’s combined public service earnings from their current job plus pension are less than the current equivalent of their pensionable earnings from their old job e.g. in the Defence Forces, there is no reduction of pension.

I should point out that prior to 1 November 2012, this abatement principle / concept already operated as a standard feature of public service pension schemes generally. However, this was only within individual sectors and bodies where a public service pensioner resumed working in his or her former occupation, e.g. Defence Forces, Garda, Civil Service etc. The 2012 Act extends the principle across and between all sectors without exception, thereby restoring the arrangements that were in place until 1965.

I should also state that a public service pensioner already in public service employment immediately before 1 November 2012 is not affected by the change while he or she remains in that post/position.  However, if their employment status changes after that date, for example, where they secure a new post through promotion with their current public service employer or where they move to a different post or public service body, their pension is subject to abatement in accordance with the legislation.

The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and other Provisions) Act 2012 comes under the remit of my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the question of any changes to that Act would therefore be a matter for him in the first instance.