Initially, it should be noted that central policy relating to public service pensions rests with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Depending on the sector the person in question works in, their pension scheme may have its own specific qualifying rules and criteria.
The interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA) arrangements, as announced in January 2018, work alongside the Yearly Average (YA) method of calculating the rate at which the contributory state pension (SPC) is paid, with the customer receiving the higher of the two calculated rates. This will continue to be in place until replaced by new legislation. This approach includes consideration of regulations relating to Homecaring periods which were introduced as part of the interim TCA approach.
Homecaring periods can be used to help increase a person’s rate of payment with the SPC if they have spent time out of the workforce to care for children (up to 12) or sick or disabled persons. To be in a position to claim these homecaring periods, they must first satisfy the minimum conditions for receipt of the SPC (i.e. have 10 years’ worth of reckonable contributions, with the first coming before their 56th birthday). Class B or D PRSI contributions, as paid by the majority of public servants recruited prior to April 1995, are not reckonable for State Pension purposes.
The Roadmap for Pension Reform sets out a target to introduce a new Total Contributions Approach for all new contributory state pension applications from the 3rd quarter of 2020. I have received analysis of a public consultation held by my Department and I hope to be in a position to bring a proposal to Government and make an announcement on the proposed design of the scheme shortly.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.