The Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to comment on the specific details of the HSE pension scheme, which comes under the responsibility of the Minister for Health. However, I can advise that it is a condition of the majority of public service occupational pension schemes, including the HSE scheme, that the member make a pension contribution towards the cost of retirement benefits for the full period of his or her scheme membership. That continues to be the case even if the member serves in excess of 40 years, which in the standard pre-existing pension schemes (i.e. all the standard schemes excluding the Single Public Service Pension Scheme), is the maximum period of pensionable service that is allowed in the calculation of pension benefits.
I should point out that the public service pre-existing pension schemes are defined benefit schemes, which means that benefits are based on a defined calculation formula (e.g. 1/80th and 3/80ths of final pensionable remuneration for retirement pension and lump sum, respectively, for public servants in modified PRSI class) rather than on the contributions made by or on behalf of the individual.
I would also note that the value of superannuation benefits for the individual continues to increase beyond the 40 year threshold as increments, promotion or pay increases (occurring after 40 years’ service) are reflected in the pension and superannuation lump sum ultimately payable on retirement.
In respect of public service spouses’ and children’s contributory pension schemes, which provide dependants’ benefits in case of the death of the member either during service or following retirement, there is provision for a refund of member contributions where reckonable service is given in excess of 40 years – such refunds relate to contributions made in the earlier part of one’s career.