Welfare’s weekly €5 raise has no impact on public service pensions

Q&A: Dominic Coyle

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: his recent budget specified a €5 weekly rise in welfare payments. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: his recent budget specified a €5 weekly rise in welfare payments. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Will retired public servants on civil service pensions qualify for the €5 per week increase?

Mr T.C., Cork

Although your public service pension is paid from the public purse as are State pensions and other welfare payments, they are not one and the same. The €5 payment increase announced for weekly welfare payments from next march has no connection with public service pensions.

Increases in civil service/public service pensions are made in line with pay increases for serving civil/public servants since late 2017 following negotiations between public sector unions and the Government.

However, there is one proviso: the pay increases are activated “provided that the pensionable salary associated with the pension is lower than the salary paid to serving staff in the same grade and on the same payscale point”. In other words, if the people working in your old job at the same level you were at are still earning less than the salary on which your pension is based, you don’t get the increase.

The provision on pay rises is part of a broader agreement on a roadmap back to full payment of both public service pay and pensions. That provides for pay to be fully restored by 2021: most public servants should be fully restored on pay by 2020.

In relation to pensions, the Public Service Payment Reduction is being rolled back over a number of years as we speak. Whoever is Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in late 2020 will have the duty on December 31st of that year to state specifically when the final restoration of full pension payments will take place.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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