Pre-1995 public sector employees pay PRSI contributions at modified rates of contribution, Classes B, C or D. Class B covers permanent and pensionable civil servants recruited prior to 6 April 1995, registered doctors and dentists employed in the civil service and Gardaí recruited prior to 1995. Class C is paid by commissioned army officers and members of the army nursing service, recruited prior to 6 April 1995. Class D is paid by permanent and pensionable employees in the public service other than those insured at Classes B and C, for example, employees of semi-State commercial bodies.
Historically, public servants in Ireland were excluded from the scope of full social insurance cover. The reason for this is that their terms of employment were deemed adequate to protect them against the main contingencies, of sickness and old age, and the risk of unemployment was not considered a factor in their case.
Consequently, modified rate contributors pay less PRSI in return for fewer benefits. Currently Class B contributors, for example, pay the employee PRSI rate of 0.9% (4% on weekly earnings over €1,443) and their employer pays a contribution rate of 2.01%. Class B contributors are currently entitled to widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's (contributory) pension, guardians payment (contributory), limited occupational injuries benefits and carer's benefit.
This contrasts with Class A contributors who pay a 4% employee contribution rate, their employer pays a contribution of either 8.7% or 10.95%, for a combined contribution rate of 12.7% or 14.95%. Class A contributors therefore gain entitlement to all social welfare benefits.
Modified rate contributors who do not have sufficient means may qualify for the means tested State pension (non-contributory)
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.