In­creased com­pul­sory re­tire­ment age wel­comed

The Irish Times - - Home News - MARTIN WALL

A de­ci­sion to raise the manda­tory re­tire­ment age for public ser­vice staff from 65 to 70 has been broadly wel­comed by ad­vo­cates for older peo­ple.

How­ever, there was con­cern that pri­vate sec­tor work­ers could be left be­hind in re­tire­ment in­come and earn­ing po­ten­tial un­less a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity to work longer was ex­tended to them.

Justin Mo­ran, head of ad­vo­cacy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Age Ac­tion, said: “Many older work­ers are afraid of los­ing their job for no other rea­son than turn­ing 65. They want to be able to work a lit­tle longer to en­sure a more se­cure re­tire­ment.”

Min­is­ter for Public Ex­pen­di­ture Paschal Dono­hoe stressed the de­ci­sion of State em­ploy­ees to re­main on after the tra­di­tional re­tire­ment age of 65 would be op­tional.

He said there would be no changes to min­i­mum re­tire­ment ages.


The re­forms, which were agreed by the Cab­i­net on Tues­day, af­fect public ser­vice staff re­cruited be­fore April 2004.

The De­part­ment of Public Ex­pen­di­ture said public ser­vants taken on after April 2004 ei­ther already had a re­tire­ment age of 70 or had no com­pul­sory re­tire­ment age.

The changes will not ap­ply to front­line groups such as gar­daí, fire­fight­ers, De­fence Forces per­son­nel and prison of­fi­cers, who are re­quired to re­tire ear­lier than other public ser­vice staff due to the na­ture of their work and who have ac­cel­er­ated pen­sion schemes.

Mr Dono­hoe said staff who opted to stay on beyond age 65 would have to con­tinue to make pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions even if they had served for 40 years and qual­i­fied for a full pen­sion. He said they would not re­ceive ad­di­tional pen­sion ben­e­fits.

He said any in­creased costs in­volved for the State in per­mit­ting public ser­vice staff to work for longer would be off­set by de­lays in not hav­ing to pay re­tire­ment lump sums.


Mr Dono­hoe high­lighted what he de­scribed as dif­fi­cul­ties ex­pe­ri­enced by public ser­vants who are obliged to re­tire at age 65 but who are not el­i­gi­ble for the con­trib­u­tory State pen­sion un­til their 66th birth­day.

He said: “Many pen­sion­ers feel that they have earned their pen­sion and should not have to ‘sign on’ as a job­seeker in or­der to re­ceive a por­tion of it.”

Age Ac­tion high­lighted the fact that a sim­i­lar prob­lem was faced by many pri­vate sec­tor work­ers who were obliged to re­tire at 65 and who would not re­ceive their State pen­sions un­til age 66, or 67 from 2021 and 68 in 2028.

It said the many thou­sands of work­ers in the pri­vate sec­tor who would not ben­e­fit from the public ser­vice re­forms could not be left be­hind.

The Min­is­ter said a pro­posed Work­place Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion code of prac­tice would ex­am­ine the is­sue

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