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Policy Information

Public Service Pensions

Published: 12 March 2019
From: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform


In general, a public servant is a member of either the 'Single Public Service Pension Scheme' or a pre-existing, sector-specific pension scheme.

The pension benefits a public servant receives generally consist of a retirement pension and a lump sum. Public servants in full PRSI class will also qualify for the State Pension, subject to the rules laid down by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

A spouse or a child’s pension may also be paid when a public servant dies while working or in retirement, while a death gratuity may be paid when a public servant dies while working.

The majority of public service pension schemes involve an explicit pension contribution, which is deducted from the salary of the public servant. A separate contribution is also required in respect of spouses’ and children’s pensions.

For more information on their pension entitlements, members should contact their local/former Human Resources office or pension administrator. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform determines central public service pensions policy, so is generally not in a position to respond to individual queries.

  • for information on State pensions, individuals should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
  • for information on the Government’s pensions policy generally (not in relation to public service pension schemes), including in relation to the State Pension, individuals should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
  • for information on taxation policy in relation to pension schemes, individuals should contact the Department of Finance

Single Scheme

The Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Single Scheme) commenced with effect from 1 January 2013. All new entrants to pensionable public service employment who started on or after 1 January 2013 are, in general, members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Single Scheme).

Members can find more information on the Single Pension Scheme website.

Pre-Existing Schemes

Public servants recruited before 2013 belong to sector-specific pension schemes (example: civil service, HSE and teacher schemes). Each of these schemes have their own rules.

Some sectoral pension resources include:

2012 Changes to Pension Arrangements

While the Public Service Pensions Single Scheme and Other Provisions Act 2012 sets out the rules of the Single Scheme, it also contains certain provisions which affect pension arrangements of both pre-existing and Single Scheme pensions.

The Act provides for the extension of pension abatement, so that a retiree's public service pension may be subject to abatement on re-entering public service employment, even if the employment is in a different area of the public service. Abatement means that in this scenario, where their new income and pension, combined, exceed their previous pensionable income, their pension administrator may be required to deduct the excess from their pension.

Public Sector Pension Reduction (PSPR)

PSPR is a reduction of certain public service pensions introduced on 1 January 2011 under FEMPI 2010 and significantly extended on 1 July 2013 under FEMPI 2013.

Substantial reversal of PSPR has taken place in recent years and when the PSPR reversal provisions in thePublic Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 are fully in effect from 1 January 2020, only a small number of public service pensions and new pension awards will remain affected by PSPR.

Under the 2017 Act, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is also required, no later than 31 December 2020, to issue an order which will specify a date for the full removal of PSPR from that residual group of PSPR-affected pensions. This specified date will then effectively be the date of the complete abolition of PSPR

Please find more information on PSPR as is it currently stands here.

Additional Superannuation Contribution (ASC)

From 1 January 2019, the ‘Pension Related Deduction’ (PRD) was replaced by a permanent pension contribution, the ‘Additional Superannuation Contribution’ (ASC). In general, what a public servant pays in ASC is lower than what they would have paid in PRD.

Unlike PRD, ASC only applies to a public servant who is a member of a public service pension scheme and is chargeable on pensionable income. This means that, unlike PRD, income such as non-pensionable allowances and non-pensionable overtime is not generally subject to ASC.

ASC is charged at different rates depending on income levels, pension scheme and pension terms, and with exemptions for income below certain levels. There are temporary exemption levels in place for 2019, with a permanent set of exemption levels to apply from 2020 onwards.

This ASC Guidance Note provides more information.

Compulsory Retirement Age

Compulsory retirement age is the maximum age to which an employee may remain in their employment.

Public servants have different compulsory retirement ages depending on the date they joined the public service. The following compulsory retirement ages apply to most public servants, but do not apply to certain groups who, due to the nature of their work are required to retire early, for example, the Gardaí and the Defence Forces.

Public servants who joined the public service before 1 April 2004 have a compulsory retirement age of 70. Prior to 26 December 2018, this group had a compulsory retirement age of 65.

Public servants who joined the public service between 1 April 2004 and 31 December 2012 have no compulsory retirement age.

Public servants who joined the public service on or after 1 January 2013 have a compulsory retirement age of 70.

Read more about the compulsory retirement age.

State Pension Liabilities

In November 2017 this Department carried out an Actuarial Review of Public Service Pension Liabilities. As of 31st December 2015, the value of the State’s pension liability accrued in respect of current and former public service employees was estimated to be €114.5 billion .

Useful Links

Legislation, circulars and other resources are available here .

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