Tag Archives: Public Service Pensions

Pensions

The Executive Committee of the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers has considered the recent statement by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the government’s decision to commence the restoration of Public Service Pension Reductions.

ARCO congratulates the Alliance of Retired Public Servants in achieving this on behalf of its members. While acknowledging this as a step in the right direction, ARCO is aware that the objective of the full restoration of service pensions remains to be achieved. 

This, along with negotiating rights for public service pensioners and a strategy to address the need for real pension increases will continue to be the guiding principle for the Alliance, of which ARCO is a founding member.

Pension Restoration

Following on from consultations with representatives of The Alliance of Retired Public Servants, of which ARCO is a member, the Government has announced an easing in Public Service Pension Reductions.

The changes provide for some restoration of pension income on a phased basis over three years as follows:

1 January 2016 – return of €400 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners

1 January 2017 – return of €500 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners

1 January 2018 – return of €780 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners

The full statement on the matter from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform may be read here.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012

The Public Service Pensions Act was debated at Committee Stage and has been passed by the Oireachtas. (You may vew the act via the following link):

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/act/pub/0037/index.html

As members of ARCO will be aware from previous postings, a number of issues contained in the original Bill were a cause for concern. Efforts were successful in having the issue of the Abatement of Pensions clarified, through amendments at the Committee Stage and the accompanying debate.

The Bill would have allowed the service pension of retired officers, who were re-employed in the Public Sector, to be abated and paid only to make up any shortfall that might exist between their new Public Service salary and their final military salary. It would have meant that where the new Public Service salary was greater than the final military salary, no service pension would be paid.

This section has been amended and will not be applied retrospectively. It will, however, apply to officers who retire after a commencement order is signed and take up a job in the Public Service. Although the Bill passed into law as an Act on 28 July 2012, the minister has yet to sign the relevant commencement order in this case.

The provision in the Bill, whereby pension increases are now tied to the Consumer Price Index, remains in place. This will impact on Public Service pensioners in general. ARCO will continue in its efforts to protect the pensions of its members.

Please also see ARCO Newsletter – Autumn 2012 for further information on this issue.

PUBLIC SERVICE PENSIONS (SINGLE SCHEME) AND REMUNERATION BILL 2011

ARCO continues in its efforts to have changes made to the proposed Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill 2011 so as to ensure that the pensions of its members who have taken up public service employment are not abated.  ARCO also opposes the proposal to link pension increases to the Consumer Price Index which could allow a minister the absolute discretion of delaying or indefinitely postponing any increases, thus effectively reducing the real value of pension entitlements and eventually changing their structure.

The vast majority of officers must retire from the Defence Forces on age grounds by their mid-fifties.  The nature of service in the armed forces requires its members to retire early from it so as to ensure the organisation can fulfil its demanding tasks.  The pension system and the early military retirement age have been put in place to cater for this.  Most officers will still have dependent children along with other financial commitments to meet at this stage of their lives.  Fully retiring is therefore not an option for them. 

The majority of public servants can work to age sixty-five and in some cases much later. For officers however early retirement is compulsory and if they are to continue to provide for their families they must seek out a second career and must do so while they are still considered employable.  The realities and difficulties in trying to find employment by someone in their mid-fifties means there is little point in waiting until then to change careers.  Most will have to enter the jobs market by their mid-forties at the latest if they are to hold out any prospect of doing so.  The pension they have earned in the service of their country is a reasonable expectation they have when considering their decision to retire.

PUBLIC SERVICE PENSIONS (SINGLE SCHEME) AND REMUNERATION BILL 2011

This Bill’s stated purpose is to put in place a new single pension scheme for all new entrants to the public service.  Among its proposals is the use of career average earnings, as opposed to final salary, to calculate pension entitlements.  The Bill also contains provisions that will impact directly on existing public service pensioners.  ARCO is deeply concerned at these developments and held an emergency National Executive meeting on 6 January 2012 to discuss the implications of this legislation for its members and the strategy it would adopt to oppose it.

Among the areas of concern for our members are the abatement of the military pensions of those who take up certain public sector employment and the linking of future pension increases to the Consumer Price (All Items) Index.  This would also give the Minister complete discretion over when to pay any increases and it would give legislative force to the breaking of the linkage between pensions and service pay.

ARCO has written to Mr. Brendan Howlin TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, expressing its concern at the current draft provisions of the Bill and pointing to the detrimental effect these would have on the pension entitlements of our members.

ARCO will consult with other interested parties and will seek to protect the pension entitlements of its members by engaging at the Committee Stage of the Bill.

Members of ARCO are invited to make submissions on this matter to the executive.

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