Information Circular No 1/2012: New Entrants – Pay & Pension Terms

By Industrial Relations Officer

1.         New entrants joining the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) with effect from1 January 2011 have reduced pay scales, while their actual date of recruitment will determine their specific occupational pension terms. 

2.         Rates of pay and allowances may be adjusted from time to time in line with Government pay policy.    In this regard, the Government approved a 10% reduction in the salary (pay) scales and fixed allowances for new entrants recruited to the PDF with effect from 1 January 2011.  

3.         Under the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004, revised occupational pension arrangements apply to military personnel who joined the PDF as new entrants on or after 1 April 2004.   Their pension scheme provides for a ‘minimum pension age’ of 50.   This means that pensions and gratuities will not normally be payable immediately on discharge / retirement unless the person serves to age 50.   Maximum retirement benefits accrue over 30 years.   Where leaving the PDF before age 50, benefits are not payable immediately but are ‘preserved’ and payable from age 60.  As in other public service pension schemes generally, benefits are based on total pensionable service and pensionable pay at discharge/retirement date (i.e. defined benefit final salary scheme) and subject to integration with the Social Insurance system. 

4.         However, as part of ongoing pension reforms, the Government has decided to introduce a new single pension scheme for all future new entrants joining the public service, including the PDF.   It is expected that this new single scheme will come into operation in 2012.   The new scheme will include a move to calculating retirement benefits based on ‘career average earnings’ rather than on ‘final salary’.   For such new entrant PDF personnel, the current minimum pension age of 50 will continue to apply.  The full details of the new single scheme, including the actual commencement date, are being finalised by Government.

5.         Therefore, the existing pension scheme terms at paragraph 3 above apply to all military personnel who joined the PDF during 2011 or before the introduction of the new single public service pension scheme in 2012. 

This Notice is subject to revision and PDFORRA will update members on the new public service pension legislation after it passes through the houses of the Oireacthas.

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