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Actuarial Review of Public Service Pension Liabilities

Published: 26 April 2018
From: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

In the Actuarial Review of Public Service Pension Liabilities , conducted by the department in November 2017, the value of the State’s pension liability accrued in respect of current and former public service employees was estimated as €114.5 billion as at 31st December 2015.

This represents the present value of all future expected superannuation benefit payments arising from accrued service to 31st December 2015, including contingent benefits payable to spouses and children of current and former public service employees.

The €114.5 billion figure was calculated under the assumption that future pension increases will continue to be in line with pay parity, as has been the case historically. The value of the ADL was also estimated assuming pensions in payment increase in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In this scenario, the ADL figure falls to €97.2 billion as at 31st December 2015.

Additionally, the cost of public service occupational pensions was estimated to increase from 1.2% of GDP in 2016 to 1.5% of GDP by 2040, and to reduce thereafter with a cost of 0.9% of GDP expected by 2060. The reductions in projected public service occupational pension expenditure over the long term arise largely as a result of the integration of public service pensions with the State Pension Contributory for employees who joined the public service from 6th April 1995 onward, the increase in the minimum retirement age for new entrants from 2004, as well as the introduction of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme in 2013.

The present review of the State’s public sector pension obligation was carried out on behalf of the Central Statistics Office who are required to compile a supplementary table showing the accrued liabilities of all funded and unfunded Irish pension schemes as part of the National Accounts, under EU Regulation 549 / 2013.

Data Collection Exercise

A public service data collection exercise is being undertaken by DPER from Q3 2019. Data is required in respect of current employees and pensions in payment, as well as former employees with preserved pension entitlements, in the public service.

The purpose of this data gathering exercise is, in the first instance, for the actuarial review of the State’s accrued pension liability as at 31 December 2018. Under EU Regulation (EU) 549/2013, the CSO is required to report on the gross liabilities of Irish public service pension schemes as part of the National Accounts. Reporting is mandatory and commenced with a report on the end 2015 position. An updated report is required at three year intervals from that date.

This information is also being sought, in the second instance, for informing public service pay and pension policy.

Section 27 (1) of the Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 provides that “a public service body or an agent of that body is required to provide information to the Minister for the purposes of - ….

(b) carrying out actuarial calculations in respect of public service pension schemes or public expenditure”.

(c) calculating the adjustment to the expenditure by a public service body consequent upon the implementation of a policy or a proposed policy of the Government;

(d) assessing the current and future staffing requirements of a public service body; and...

(f) carrying out an analysis of the structure, functions, resources and service delivery methods of a public service body.”

In conducting this exercise, DPER will comply with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019. An online privacy notice, accessible to all data subjects, can be read here:

Privacy Notice

Accrued Public Service Pension Liability Estimate / Public Service HR Databank privacy notice.


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