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interim measures

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

Interim measures apply to those approaching retirement who wish to work on before the necessary legislation has been enacted.

PUBLIC SERVANTS WHO hit retirement age before the new legislation comes into effect will result in those wishing to work beyond 65 being re-hired and placed on a minimum or lower pay scale.

Last week, it was announced that the mandatory retirement age for civil servants is to rise from 65 to 70 under new legislation to be finalised next year.

Under current rules, those working in the public service must retire from their job at age 65.

However, the new law will mean people can work up until 70 if they so choose.

The new compulsory retirement age will not come into effect until the necessary legislation is commenced.

Finance and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said last week that he wants to introduce the heads of the Bill in the new year and for the Bill to make a speedy passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Attorney General has been requested to prioritise the drafting of the necessary legislation for this purpose.

In the meantime, the minister announced that he had agreed with sectoral public service employers some limited interim arrangements to apply in the period between the government decision and the commencement of the necessary legislation.

Public servants who reach the age of 65 in that period and who wish to remain working will be allowed to do so by ministerial order.

Interim arrangements

The interim arrangements will allow pre 2004 public servants who reach the age of 65 in that period to remain in employment only until they reach the age of eligibility for the State contributory pension, which is currently 66.

The worker will have to retire, and will then be re-hired in order to work past 65.

However, under the interim arrangements, a person who works on will only be paid at the minimum point of the relevant pay scale.

This means if a public servant who is at principal officer level three will go back to level one under the interim measures – resulting in them earning a lower wage.

However, a statement from the department said that public servants availing of these arrangements will have received their pension and lump sum payment.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for employment affairs and Social Protection John Brady said he has been contacted by a number of public servants who are approaching the age of 65 and who would like to work on.

He said that the interim arrangements in place for public servants wishing to remain at work are “purposely unattractive”.

‘Grim reading’ for those approaching retirement

Brady said there is little or no point for those approaching retirement age to consider working on before the legislation is enacted, adding:

“The interim arrangements put in place by Minister Donohue and agreed with public service employers makes for grim reading.

“Employees will be allowed to remain at work beyond 65 but only under certain conditions. These conditions include 65 year olds retiring and being re-hired for the extra year, being paid at the minimum point of their relevant pay scale which will result in pay reductions, and no longer being able to accrue pension benefits for the year.

“This means that those wishing to remain at work to add to their PRSI contributions will be unable to do so. I would also question whether or not trade unions were consulted on these arrangements,” said the Wicklow TD.

Calling the interim measures “extremely disappointing”, Brady said:

“If these interim arrangements are anything to go by I would be cautious as to the actual text of this legislation to raise the mandatory retirement age to 70 and what it will actually look like.”

A statement from the Department said that only when the legislation was enacted would  an employee be allowed to retain their current terms and conditions.

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

Retirement age for public service workers to increase to 70>

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