Glossary* (standard grades)
This section explains some of the main pension phrases that you may come across on this website.
This refers to how your retirement lump sum and pension benefits, termed referable amounts, are calculated. It is a % of your pensionable pay for all of the periods that you pay into the scheme.
Annual Benefit Statement
A pension document that you should receive by the 30 June each year from your current or former public service employer. Your Statement is a summary of your scheme benefits as at the 31 December in the previous year. It will provide you with information on:
- The amount of pension contributions that you paid into the Scheme with that employer in the last calendar year and, if it applies to you, in earlier calendar years;
- The total amount of retirement benefits that you earned in the Scheme with that employer in the last calendar year and, if it applies to you, the value of retirement benefits that you earned under this Scheme in earlier calendar years with that employer.
Career-Average Pension Scheme
Under a Career-Average Pension Scheme, the value of your benefits on retirement is based on your pensionable earnings throughout your public service career as a member of the Scheme. This is a type of Defined Benefit Pension Scheme.
This is a pension document that you should receive from your public service employer within 6 months of your finishing pensionable employment and where you are not expected to return. For example, if you resign from your job. It will provide you with information on:
- The total amount of pension contributions that you paid into the Scheme with that employer up to the day that your pensionable employment finished;
- The total amount of retirement benefits that you earned in the Scheme with that employer up to the day that your pensionable employment finished.
Compulsory Retirement Age
70 is the latest age that you can earn benefits as a member of the Scheme before you must retire and access your scheme benefits (assuming that you have a permanent Contract of Employment with your employer).
Cost-Neutral Early Retirement
If you finish pensionable employment after your 55th birthday but before your normal retirement age, you can apply to access your benefits early. If you do so, your benefits will be adjusted because you are accessing them early.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
CPI is a financial calculation that is made by the Central Statistics Office. It is used to measure inflation in Ireland by seeing how the average level of prices that we pay for certain goods and services changes over time. Where there is an increase in the yearly CPI, the referable amounts that you may have earned in prior years under the Scheme will also increase at that same rate as the CPI increase. After retirement, your pension may also be increased at the same rate as the CPI increase.
If you have paid contributions for more than 2 years as a member of the Scheme and finish pensionable employment before your pension age, you will have a long-term entitlement to the payment of benefits from the Scheme at your pension age. This is called a Deferred Benefit. If you are entitled to such a retirement benefit, the benefits that you earned up to date you finished pensionable employment as a member of the Scheme will be adjusted with any future increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) until you access them. If you have not paid contributions for more than 2 years as a member of the Scheme by the time you finish pensionable employment, you are not entitled to receive a Deferred Benefit but may be entitled to a refund of the contributions that you have paid (less tax).
Defined Benefit Pension Scheme
Your Scheme is a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme. Your retirement benefits are mainly based on a % of your pensionable earnings for the entire period that you have been a member of the Scheme. Your contributions are not invested in the stock market.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
This is a % calculation that compares the work pattern or the salary of a part-time member to a full-time colleague. For example, if you are a part-time worker that works half of the hours of a full-time colleague, you would have a work pattern FTE of 0.50. If you worked half-time and earned €20,000 each year, your FTE salary you were to work full-time is €40,000 per year.
See Retirement Age
Pensionable Pay or Pensionable Remuneration
This is your basic pay plus any approved allowances that have been deemed to be pensionable by your employer. You pay pension contributions on all of your pensionable pay. If you receive an allowances as part of your pay, your Contract of Employment will usually confirm if you allowance allowances are pensionable or you can enquire with your local Payroll Officer.
See Deferred Benefits
These are the money amounts that you built up over time as a member of the Scheme. Each month, you bank amounts towards your retirement lump sum and your retirement pension. The amounts that you bank are based on the pensionable pay that you receive each year. The sum of these amounts, with some adjustments for increases in inflation, determines what your retirement benefits will be. Your Scheme Leaflet provides more information on how referable amounts are calculated.
Refund of Contributions
If you finish pensionable employment and you paid pension contributions to the Scheme for less than 2 years overall, you are not entitled to receive a Deferred Benefit. Instead, after you finish employment, you may apply to your employer for a refund of the pension contributions that you paid to the Scheme (less tax) if you are not taking up pensionable employment elsewhere in the public service. If you avail of a refund, you may apply to pay back contributions previously refunded to you, with interest, provided you return to a pensionable public service post within 24 months.
Each of the 350+ public service employers that the terms of the Single Scheme applies to is called a Relevant Authority. Your public service employer is your Relevant Authority. Each Relevant Authority is responsible for administering the Scheme for its employees. Your employer is responsible for taking pension deductions from your pay, for calculating the Scheme benefits that you earn during your employment, for issuing pension statements to you and, eventually, to pay your benefits to you when you retire.
Your retirement age under the Scheme is the same as the age that you can claim the State Pension from the Department of Social Protection. Using your Date of Birth is the easiest way to figure out what your retirement age is under the Scheme:
Age 66 Pension Age: If you were born before 1 January 1955
Age 67 Pension Age: If you were born between 1 January 1955 and 31 December 1960
Age 68 Pension Age: If you were born on or after 1 January 1961
If you are a permanent employee, you can decide not to access your benefits at your minimum retirement age and instead keep working up until your 70th birthday. If you do so, you will contribute to earn retirement benefits. Age 70 is the compulsory retirement age.
This is the minimum length of time that you must have paid into the Scheme before you become entitled to a long-term entitlement to retirement benefits or to be granted a Deferred Benefit. If you finish in pensionable employment before your pension age. The Vesting Period under your Scheme is 24 months.
This is an outline glossary of key terms that only applies to standard grades covered by the Single Public Service Pension Scheme. It should be read in conjunction with the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 and associated Regulations that may be accessed on this website. This document is not a legal interpretation of the Act or associated Regulations. Members of the following classes have different terms and are not covered in this outline: Members of the Oireachtas including the President, the Judiciary, the Comptroller and Auditor General and qualifying and designated office holders; Gardaí, Permanent Defence Force, Prison Officers and Firefighters.