Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (154)

Darragh O'Brien


154. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date the spouses and children's pension scheme was opened to female employees in the Civil Service; if allowances will be made for those that do not have sufficient contributions before they retire but were excluded from joining the scheme before 1 June 1981; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51260/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

S.I. No. 56/1981 amended the existing Civil Service Widows' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme and provided for the admission of established female civil servants to the scheme on terms equivalent to those applicable to male civil servants from 1 June 1981. In effect, that scheme then became the Spouses' and Children's Pension Scheme.

Membership of this scheme then applied to female officers in either of the following two categories:

(a) Those who were serving, or commenced to serve, in an established capacity at any time between 1 March 1980 and 31 May 1981, who did not opt out of the scheme and whose benefits take the form of a pension, lump sum and death gratuity rather than pension only.

(b) Those appointed to established posts on or after 1 June 1981.

If an individual who has been married during their scheme membership has not made periodic contributions from salary in respect of all pensionable service, non-periodic contributions are payable at retirement in respect of the outstanding ‘relevant service’, up to a maximum of 40 years. This relevant service can include pre-scheme service, depending on the periodic contributions which have been paid at the time of retirement. These non-periodic contributions will prevent a shortfall of scheme contributions and are usually deducted from the retirement lump sum at a rate of 1% of retiring salary for each year of relevant service.

However, I would note that once an individual becomes a member of the scheme, their spouse and children would be covered by the scheme in the unfortunate event of the member’s death, regardless of when the member joined the scheme or if they have pre-scheme service. The scheme rules state that if a member dies in service, the spouse’s and children’s pensions will be paid based on the pension that the scheme member would have received had they served until the retiring age. In this event, non-periodic contributions are also deducted from the death gratuity in respect of service for which periodic contributions have not been paid.