Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (39)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

39. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the pension of a person (details supplied) is being abated. [34054/19]

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, does 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.

In relation to the person in question, the position is that he is in receipt of a pension as a retired member of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and is also employed by my Department as a Civilian Employee and as such the provisions of Section 52 of the 2012 Act must be applied.  An abatement to his Defence Forces' pension only applies in a month when his monthly earnings as a Civilian Employee and his Defence Forces’ pension for that month exceed the current equivalent of the pensionable pay he received  when serving in the PDF. Any abatement applied is deducted from the gross pension amount.

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.