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Retirement Information

Overview of UL Pensions Schemes 

 

Group 

Date of joining Public Sector 

Pension Scheme 

Explanatory Booklet (.pdf) 

Pension Integrated with State Pension 

Minimum Early Retirement Pension Age 

Compulsory / Normal Retirement Age 

Minimum Cost Neutral Early Retirement Age 

Pre 06-Apr-1995 i.e. Modified/ Class D PRSI 

Superannuation Scheme 1982 (Scheme 1) 

  

Pensions Booklet for Members Paying Modified (Class D) PRSI 

No 

60 

70 

50 

06-Apr 1995 – 31-Mar-2004 

i.e. Full / Class A PRSI 

Co-ordinated Pension Scheme (Scheme 6) 

 

Pensions Booklet for Class A PRSI Members - Employed in Pensionable Public Sector Post Prior to 1st April 2004  

Yes 

60 

70 

50 

01-Apr-2004-31-Dec-2012 i.e. new Entrants as per 2004 Act  

 The UL Model Pension Scheme (Scheme 7) 

  

Pensions Booklet for Class A PRSI Members - Employed in Pensionable Public Sector Post on or after 1st April 2004 

Yes 

65 

None 

55 

On or after 01-Jan-2013 

 

The Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Scheme 13) 

The Single Public Service Pension Scheme Booklet 

Yes 

66 

70 

55 

 

Please see Circular 03/2021: Guidance on Minimum Pension Ages/Compulsory Retirement Ages in the Public Service gov.ie - Circular 03/2021: Guidance on Minimum Pension Ages/Compulsory Retirement Ages in the Public Service. (www.gov.ie)for additional information, including relevant legislation, on retirement ages is contain 

Compulsory/Normal Retirement Age 

Groups A & B: referenced in the table above, who previously retired at age 65, can now remain in employment to age 70. Traditionally the UL Pensions Office contacted employees in these groups, 9 -12 months in advance of their 65th birthday regarding retirement. This contact will now be made 9-12 months in advance of members’ 70th birthday. Employees who as a result of the legislation can opt to remain in employment past their 65th birthday should be aware of the following: 

  • They will continue in their employment with no change to their current terms and conditions including salary. 
  • They will continue to accrue pensionable service up to a maximum of 40 years. 
  • The legislation has not changed the minimum retirement age which means employees can still opt to early retire anytime from age 60. 
  • Pension benefits will be payable at retirement, which will be age 70 or the earlier retirement date as chosen by the employee. 
  • No approval is required to remain in employment up to age 70. 

 

Group C: as referenced in the table above, are unaffected by the legislation and have no maximum retirement age.  

The Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 removed the compulsory retirement age for New Entrants to the public service with effect from 1 April 2004 i.e. staff do not have to retire at the normal retirement age of 65. There is no limit on the upper retirement age. The Act also specifies that the minimum retirement age at which pension may be paid to New Entrants is 65. 

A New Entrant to the public service is an employee who either: 

becomes a public servant for the first time from 1 April 2004 to 31 December 2012, or 

leaves public service employment and who between 1 April 2004 and 31 December 2012 returns to public service employment following a break in service of more than 26 weeks 

Staff can check if they are a new entrant under the 2004 act by logging onto their online pensions self service via Core Portal Employee Self Service and proceeding to the Core Portal Pensions Calculator. The calculator contains a field which confirms the pensions scheme you are a member of. Should you have any issues in accessing or using the Core Portal system, please email coreportal.contact@ul.ie for assistance. 

Group D: as referenced in the table above, are unaffected by the legislation and already have a maximum retirement age of 70. Please click here for further information on the Single Scheme. 

Early Retirement (no actuarial reduction)  

If you are thinking of retiring early, please run early retirement figures on the Pensions Calculator through the Core Portal Employee Self Service. Should you have any issues in accessing or using the Core Portal system, please email coreportal.contact@ul.ie for assistance. 

Employees who wish to retire prior to the compulsory retirement age of the pension scheme of which they are a member, must do so by notifying their Line Manager and Pensions Office in writing prior to their desired retirement date. The notice period must be in line with the member’s Contract of Employment. Notice is generally a period of one month for support staff and one semester for academic staff. 

Retirement notices must be unconditional, and the University of Limerick cannot accept a notice of retirement that is conditional on some other event occurring.   

Once a formal notice of decision to retire has been submitted, a withdrawal of the retirement decision is generally not permitted. Where exceptional circumstances exist, the employee may apply to their direct line manager to withdraw the decision. Following full consideration of the operational requirements and recruitment planning of the School/Unit, the line manager/Dean/Head of Unit may/may not approve a withdrawal. The Pensions Office and HR Partner should be informed by email of this decision. 

A Pensioner Declaration Form will be issued on an annual basis for completion and return during a member’s retirement. This is an Audit requirement. 

Cost Neutral Early Retirement (CNER) 

Cost Neutral Early Retirement (or Actuarially Reduced Early Retirement) is an option with allows employees to retire earlier than the minimum early retirement age.  Benefits can be paid prior to normal retirement date with benefits actuarially reduced for early payment. 

This actuarial reduction is permanent for the duration that the pension is in payment. 

The rate of the reduction will be in line with actuarial rates approved by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform. Current Circulars governing Cost Neutral Early Retirement can be found here for pre-2013 Scheme members and here for SPS Scheme members

If you are considering taking cost neutral early retirement, please run “Actuarially Reduced Early Retirement” figures through the Core Portal Employee Self Service. Should you have any issues in accessing or using the Core Portal system, please email coreportal.contact@ul.ie for assistance. Then if you then wish to proceed, please email pensions@ul.ie with your personnel number and proposed retirement date to request a formal statement of your early retirement benefits.  It is recommended that you contact the UL Pensions Office at least 6 months in advance of your chosen retirement date. 

Once a formal notice of decision to retire has been submitted, a withdrawal of the retirement decision is generally not permitted. Where exceptional circumstances exist, the employee may apply to their direct line manager to withdraw the decision. Following full consideration of the operational requirements and recruitment planning of the School/Unit, the line manager/Dean/Head of Unit may/may not approve a withdrawal. The HR Partner and the Pensions Office should be informed by email of this decision. 

Ill Health Early Retirement Process 

Ill Health Early Retirement may be an option for those who are permanently incapable of work due to ill health. A pension and lump sum calculated in the same way as a normal retirement age pension and lump sum will be paid to you provided you have a minimum of 5 years’ reckonable service (if under age 60) or 2 years’ reckonable service (if age 60 or over).  

As well as your actual service you may be allowed an additional period of notional service provided you have at least 5 years’ reckonable service. This added service, which is calculated by reference to the length of your actual service, is to compensate you for the fact that you must retire prematurely. The maximum addition is 10 years but very few, if any, employees will qualify for this. 

 The actual addition allowable in any case will depend on the employee’s age and service as follows: 

  1. a member with between 5- and 10-years actual service is credited with an equivalent amount of added service, provided this does not exceed the additional service which the member would have accrued if he/she had remained in employment up to age 65; 
  1. a member with between 10- and 20-years actual service is credited with the more favourable of  
  1. an amount of service equal to the difference between actual service and 20 years (provided this does not exceed the additional service which the member would have accrued if he/she had remained in employment up to age 65); or 
  1. 6 years and 243 days, provided this does not exceed the additional service which the member would have accrued if he/she had remained in employment up to age 60); 
  1. a member with more than 20 years actual service is credited with the same award of added service as at (b)(ii) above. 

If you retire on ill-health grounds with at least 1 year and less than 2 years’ reckonable service, you will not qualify for a pension and lump sum. However, a short service gratuity, related to your actual service, will be paid to you.  

If you retire on ill-health grounds before age 60 and have at least 2 years and less than 5 years’ reckonable service, you will be given a once-off irrevocable option of accepting a short service gratuity in lieu of a preserved pension and lump sum.  

If you feel you may qualify for Ill Health Early Retirement, please contact pensions@ul.ie where you will be required to undergo a medical examination with the Occupational Health Advisors. 

If the medical evidence supports Ill Health Early Retirement, you will be retired on Ill Health Grounds with immediate effect. A retirement pack will be provided by the Pensions Office which contains a number of forms to be completed to arrange payment of your benefits. 

Retirement Process 

Should you wish to retire prior to your compulsory mandatory retirement date, you must do so by notifying your Line Manager and Pensions Office in writing prior to your desired retirement date. The notice period must conform to your resignation notice period as per your contract of employment. Notice is generally a period of one month for support staff and one semester for academic staff. 

Employees will carry out their normal tasks and duties as set out in their job description during the notice period. 

The Pensions Office will commence the retirement process by reviewing the members file and will offer the member a meeting to address any queries the member may have.  

Once retired, the member’s pension will be set up automatically and paid into the same bank account, on the same date as salary was previously, for as long as they shall live. The pension will attract general salary increases applied to the grade from which the member retired and will be applied in line with Public Sector guidelines. 

The member’s gratuity will also be paid into this same bank account, on the 25th day of the month in which they retire.  

The member’s pension payslips will be posted to the home address on file and their personnel number will remain unchanged. 

A Pensioner Declaration Form will be issued on an annual basis for completion and return during your retirement. This is an Audit requirement. 

Forms to be completed 

Further to the Budget and Finance Act 2011, all employees are required to complete a Pension Declaration Form (PF005) HRQuality - PF005 Pension Declaration form.rtf - All Documents (sharepoint.com) prior to claiming their pension benefits.  

Section 51 of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 also requires that all public service applicants and retirees complete Section 51 Declaration (PF008) PF008.4 Section 51 Pre-employment Pension Declaration.docx (sharepoint.com) prior to commencing employment/retirement. This is required to declare if the pensioner has taken up other public sector employment or become entitled to other public sector pension benefits. 

Please ensure these forms are completed and returned to pensions@ul.ie within 3 months of your retirement date.  

Transfer of Prior Public Service 

If you have previous civil service or public sector service which may be transferrable or bought back, please email the details to pensions@ul.ie, including the following information:  

  • Name and contact details of your previous employer 
  • Personnel number under your previous employment 
  • Exact dates of service with your previous employer 
  • Position title(s) under your previous employment 
  • Contract type(s) under your previous employment i.e. permanent, temporary etc. 
  • Any other details of relevance regarding your previous employment 

The Pensions Office recommends members complete this well in advance of retirement dates, as this process can take some time to complete. For further details on transfers in please see Transferring Pension Benefits | UL - University of Limerick 

Professional Added Years 

For information on Professional Added Years please Click Here.  

Voluntary Deductions  

On retirement, any voluntary deductions such as Health Insurance, Union, Sports and Social, Savings etc. which were deducted from member’s salary will automatically continue to be deducted from pension. The UL voluntary Life Assurance Scheme and Income Continuance Plan will automatically cease on retirement/age 65.  If you have queries in relation other deductions, please contact salaries@ul.ie

UL Staff/Pensioner Email Account 

Retired Members of staff will continue to have access to their UL e-mail account. 

AVC 

If a member has previously made additional pension contributions to the University of Limerick Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC’s) Scheme, prior to retirement the member should contact the administrators of the scheme, Mercer (Ireland) Limited, directly to claim their AVC pension benefits.  

Contact Jim O’Neill, Senior Associate, Mercer, Email: jim.o’neill@mercer.com, Mobile: +353 87 2205176. 

Supplementary Pension 

A Supplementary Pension is an additional pension payable to certain employees paying PRSI on the A1 rate and retiring before reaching State Pension Age (currently 66), to top up their pension to the pension payable to an equivalent employee paying PRSI at the D1 rate. 

A member paying PRSI at the higher ‘A1’ rate may be entitled to a State Pension (Contributory) from the Department of Social Protection, on reaching State Pension Age. This pension will be ‘co-ordinated’ with the pension the member receives from the University of Limerick Superannuation Scheme. This is to ensure that when added together, the members UL pension and the State Pension (Contributory) roughly equal the pension payable to an employee paying PRSI at the lower ‘D1’ rate.  

The State Pension (Contributory) only becomes payable at age 66. If a member retires before age 66, they may be eligible for a Supplementary Pension. 

In what circumstances is the Supplementary Pension payable? 

The Supplementary Pension was designed for retiring employees paying A1 PRSI contributions, who due to causes beyond their control, either fail to qualify for Social Welfare Benefit (Job Seekers Benefit etc.) or qualify for a reduced benefit. It is payable no earlier than a member’s minimum retirement age (i.e. 60 or 65 as defined in the relevant Pension Scheme rules) unless the member retires on the grounds of ill health. 

To qualify for a Supplementary Pension you must: 

  • Be a fully insured Public Servant, i.e. pay A1 PRSI contributions 
  • Fail to qualify for Job Seeker’s Benefit or qualify for reduced benefit, through no fault of their own (written confirmation for the Department of Social Protection will be required) 
  • Not be employed in any capacity post retirement  

The amount of Supplementary Pension is calculated as follows: 

A – (B+C), where:        

A is the amount of pension which would be payable to the member if they were PRSI Class D  

B is the amount of the pension actually payable to the former member   

C is the annual amount of the Social Welfare Benefits, if any, which is payable to the former member. 

To apply for a Supplementary Pension, please contact pensions@ul.ie, attaching confirmation from the Department of Social Protection that you fail to qualify for Job Seeker’s Benefit or qualify for reduced benefit.  

Useful Web links 

Welfate.ie (Dept of Employment Affairs and Social Protection)  

Citizens Information 

Pensions Abatement 

Abatement is the term used to describe a reduction in the pension of a public servant who becomes re-employed in the public service after their pension has commenced – they cannot receive more than the equivalent of a full-time salary from both sources combined.  

The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme & Other Provisions) Act 2012 (Section 52) provides for the extension of pension abatement.  

Abatement is a standard feature of public service pension schemes and arises when: 

  1. A retired member of the public service re-enters public sector employment on a post retirement basis and, 
  1. The combination of their salary from their new “post retirement” employment plus the amount of their Public Service pension exceeds the rate of pay the staff member would have received had the staff member remained in the post from which the staff member retired.  

For example, abatement will occur in the following situations:  

  • Where the new rate of pay exceeds the old rate of pay (i.e. the previous pensionable remuneration on which the pension was based as up rated to current rates), the pension will not be payable in respect of the period of employment.  
  • Where the new rate of pay is less than the old rate of pay but the aggregate of new pay and pension exceeds the old rate of pay, the pension payable will be correspondingly reduced. 
  • Where an employee leaves a post with preserved benefits and has a break in service of greater than 26 weeks. The new employee would be considered a Single Scheme member and currently is unable to transfer his/her previous service. A pension will become payable once the employee reaches the minimum pension age of his/her previous scheme, regardless of the fact that they are employed by UL and abatement could arise once the pension becomes payable.  

The Act enables the extension of pension abatement so that a retiree’s public service pension is liable to abatement on re-entering public service employment, even where the new employment is in a different area of the public service.  

For more information on The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme & Other Provisions) Act 2012 (Section 52) please visit www.gov.ie

State Pension 

As a member of an Occupational Pension Scheme, members may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory) separate to the University of Limerick pension. 

The State Pension (Contributory), often referred to as the old-age pension, is a payment which members may qualify for when they reach a certain age and if they have enough PRSI contributions.  

As the State Pension (Contributory) falls within the remit of the Department of Social Protection and is separate from the members University of Limerick pension, the Pensions Team are not in a position to advise of eligibility or entitlements to state pension benefits. 

Further information on claiming the State Pension (Contributory) is available on Welfare.ie.  

Public Service Pension Reduction 

PSPR was introduced on 1 January 2011 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 (“FEMPI 2010”). 

The most recent rates of PSPR are governed by Circular 18/2015: Changes to the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR)

The Government has approved the signing of an order for the completion of the operation of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) introduced under the FEMPI Acts. This means that PSPR will cease to apply to any public service pensions from 1st July 2021. The UL Pensions Office are awaiting a circular instructing the removal of PSPR from Retired Members of Staff’s pensions.   

Standard Fund Threshold 

Overview 

The Standard Funding Threshold (SFT) is a limit or ceiling on the total capital value of pension benefits that an individual can draw from tax-relieved pension arrangements which come into payment for the first time after 7th December 2005. Pension arrangements is taken to include benefits from defined benefit occupational pension schemes, defined contribution occupational pension schemes, retirement annuity contracts (RACs), personal retirement saving accounts (PRSAs) and additional voluntary contributions (AVCs). This list is not exhaustive and all tax relieved pension arrangement (with the exception of benefits from the Department of Social Protection) will be used to calculate the capital value of an individual's pension benefits. 

The SFT limit was originally set as €5m on introduction and was reduced to €2.3m in 2011 and has now been further reduced to €2m with effect from 1st January 2014. Generally speaking, this change will potentially only affect members who retire with pensions that deliver an income of €60,000 per annum or more. Where a member has benefits which exceed a capital value of €2m the excess will be subject to tax at 40% (save where a member has obtained a Personal Funding Threshold certificate for an amount greater than €2m).  

Changes under Budget 2014 

Budget 2014 made two main changes to the Standard Funding Threshold: 

  1. The SFT limit was reduced to €2m with effect from 1st January 2014. 
  1. The valuation factor used to calculate the capital value of an individual's defined benefit pension rights (such as those from the UL Pension Schemes) has been changed from a standard capitalisation factor of 20 to a range of higher age-related valuation factors. This change applies to pension benefits accrued after 1st January 2014. As such a split calculation will apply with (i) a standard valuation factor of 20 used to calculate the value of benefits accrued before 01/01/2014 and (ii) with age-related valuation factors applying to benefits accrued after 01/01/2014.  

If the aggregate value of an individual's pension arrangements exceeds €2m, it is possible to apply to Revenue for a Personal Fund Threshold (PFT) certificate. Members may already have applied for and obtained a PFT when the SFT was reduced to €2.3m in 2011.  

The PFT certificate will allow individuals to avail of a higher lifetime pension limit than the SFT, however, the maximum PFT now available is €2.3m. Further details and examples are available in DPER Circular - SFT Budget 2014

 Further Information: 

  

General Conditions of Retirement 

  1. Annual Leave is managed on a local level. All annual leave should be taken prior to retirement and the members retirement date should include all outstanding annual leave. Further information UL Annual Leave can be found on the HR Website
  1. Employees must return any University property, e.g. Laptop, keys, phone, staff ID card etc. in their possession to their Head of School/Unit on their last day of work 
  1. All employees who required a Hosting Agreement as part of their UL employment must return the original Hosting Agreement to HR Research, prior to their last day of work. The Hosting Agreement will be cancelled, and Immigration will be notified of the end date. 

Please mark the envelope for the attention of:  

Research Office, Human Resources, University of Limerick  

  1. All employees who required a Work Permit or Green Card as part of their UL employment must return the original Work Permit or Green Card to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation at the following address: 

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Work Permits Section, Davitt House, 65A Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. 

Please note that all Hosting Agreements, Green Cards and Work Permits are non-transferable and only applicable to a role within UL. When an employee resigns from UL the work authorisation cannot be used for another company and must be cancelled. 

  1. Where monies are owed to UL at retirement as a result of, an overpayment of salary or for any other reason, UL has an obligation to seek to recover the outstanding amount and to correct the mistake in the disbursement of public funds subject to relevant procedures and practices. The employee/former employee has a reciprocal obligation to repay any outstanding amount owed back to the University. This is line with Government Circular 07/2018. The overpayment will be recouped in the last salary payment from UL. If the final salary payment is not sufficient to recoup the full amount outstanding, a method of repayment in line with the circular will be agreed at the time. 
  1. Once the pension is in payment the employee, now pensioner, is obliged to complete a pensioner declaration form on a biennial basis to declare that the pensioner is still alive and the pension continues to be paid to the correct person.  

Related documents 

Retirement Information Factsheet - PD005.9 Retirement Information Factsheet.doc (sharepoint.com) 

Retired Member of Staff Protocol - HRX003 UL Retired Staff Protocol.doc (sharepoint.com)