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Clerical officer forced to take €11,000 salary cut for same job because he's turning 65

“It’s not fair that somebody facing that kind of cut will be expected to continue to do the same job because of a birthday.”

Image: Shutterstock/Jfanchin

A PUBLIC SERVANT clerical officer is going to have to take an €11,000 cut in his salary despite doing the same job – because he will turn 65.

As law stands currently, public servants have to retire when they reach the age of 65. However, the government is working on legislative changes in this area (to increase the compulsory retirement age) and interim measures put in place will allow him to be rehired after his official retirement, but on much less pay.

Last year, the government said the compulsory retirement age for those recruited before 1 April 2004 should be increased to 70, but primary legislation is required for the change to be implemented.

Interim measures were put in place so such workers can be rehired. They will be paid at the lowest entry point of the public pay scale for the first year – even though they will carry out the same tasks.

People in this position will receive a portion of the annual pension entitlement for just one year to bridge the gap to the State pension – which they are entitled to when they turn 66.

Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary gave the example of a clerical worker turning 65 this year when speaking in the Dáil.

“The portion of his pension that he will receive will not bring him anywhere near his current salary.

It is not fair that somebody facing that kind of cut will be expected to continue to do the same job because of a birthday.

“He will be expected to do the same job and carry the same level of responsibility owing to the fact that we are having difficulty in passing the required legislation.”

Calleary said many people are currently being forced to retire.

Legislation needed

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said he has asked the Attorney General to prioritise the drafting of this legislation so that the new compulsory retirement age will become effective as soon as possible.

“The drafting process is under way and an initial draft of the Bill is being prepared.
The Bill is on the list of priority legislation for publication in the spring-summer session of this year.

“It is not possible to determine the length of time it will take for it to be drafted and passed by the House of the Oireachtas, given the scheduling requirements and composition of the house.

“However, it is being treated as a priority and it is my intention to bring forward the necessary legislation as soon as possible.”

Interim plan 

Since 2014, workers who retired at 65 were not able to access the State pension until they turned 66. This forced them to sign on for jobseekers’ benefit in the intervening year.

The limited interim arrangements allow affected public servants who reach the age of 65 to remain in employment until they reach 66.

Donohoe said, “We have the interim measures in place because I felt it was necessary to have some lead-in time between announcing that we were going to do this and bringing forward a Bill to give people time to arrange their affairs and make decisions on whether they wanted to continue to work.

“The provisions for people commencing work on the minimum point on the salary scale ensure we will stand by and implement the principle of abatement.

“Otherwise, we would find ourselves in a situation where people might continue to work but the aggregate figure of what they would get in maintaining their salary plus their pension would deliver a sum that was very high.”

Read: Explainer: Retirement at age 70 – what do the new rules mean?>

Read: Public servants approaching retirement who want to work past 65 will be re-hired and placed on a lower pay scale>

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