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 person 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 state bodies or where public service pensioners are employed outside the public service.
Pension abatement operates to ensure that pensions payable to public servants do not have the effect of making a pensioner's earnings from their current public service job, plus their existing public service retirement pension, exceed the current equivalent of pensionable salary from their old public service job. The pension payable is reduced as appropriate, that is, abated, to stay within the overall limit. However, the actual impact (if any) from the measure on a person’s public service pension will vary from person to person and in some cases there may be no abatement.
I should point out that prior to 1 November 2012, this abatement measure 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. a soldier rejoining the Defence Forces, a civil servant rejoining the Civil Service etc. The 2012 Act extends the measure across and between all public service sectors generally, thereby restoring the arrangements that were in place until 1965.
I should also state that a public service pensioner already in public service employment immediately before 1 November 2012 is not affected by the change while he or she remains in that post or position. However, if their employment status changes after that date, for example, where they secure a new post through promotion with their current public service employer or where they move to a different post or public service body on transfer or promotion, their pension is subject to abatement in accordance with the legislation.
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.