Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
134. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will revoke the awarding of added years and special severance gratuity payments to current secretaries general. [20294/12]
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): As I previously advised the Deputy in my reply to Parliamentary Question number 81 on 28 February (ref. 11208/12), Secretaries General appointed under the TLAC process have exit arrangements which are part of their terms of employment following a Government decision at the time of appointment.
The Government revised the arrangements in October 2011 to apply to Secretaries General newly appointed thereafter. Under the revised terms, newly appointed Secretaries General will no longer benefit from immediate payment of pension and lump sum at the end of their term (unless they have already reached pension age); nor will they benefit from notional added years for pension purposes. These are significant changes to the terms which applied to previous appointees, which included the offer of an alternative post in the Public Service or a severance payment and immediate retirement on an enhanced pension.
The previous terms still apply to currently serving Secretaries General who were appointed under those terms, as the terms form part of their terms of employment. As I said in my previous reply, the advice of the Office of the Attorney General is that the Government does not have discretion to change those terms.
I would also like to remind the Deputy that a number of pension-related measures have been implemented in the Public Service which affect Secretaries General. The pay reductions introduced since 2010 will impact on the pension benefits of those retiring after 1 March 2012 onwards. The pensions of those who retired before that date were subject to the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) introduced in January 2011. I also recently provided for an increase in the rate of PSPR applicable to pensions over €100,000 from 12% to 20% which will affect Secretaries General on pension above that level.
Finally, the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill to provide for a Single Public Service Pension Scheme is currently before the Oireachtas and will be implemented this year. It will introduce a pension based on career average earnings, rather than the current system of pension based on final salary, for those who will be members of the scheme.
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