[rev_slider Retirement]

There is no single fixed/mandatory retirement age (age at which you must retire) for employees in Ireland. Typically, an employee’s retirement age is set out in their Contract of Employment and this can vary from one company/industry to the next. Alternatively, precedent/established custom and practice within the Company can determine the retirement age of its employees. E.G: if Mary was forced to retire at the age of 62 then Jack should also have to retire upon reaching the same age (assuming the circumstances are the same and that Mary was not ill, for instance).

Contracts provided by employers to their employees usually incorporate a mandatory retirement age (Normal Retirement Date/NRD). This tends to make it compulsory for the employee to retire at a certain age, usually this is somewhere between the ages of 60 and 65. Most contracts also include some sort of provision for early retirement on ill-health grounds etc.

In certain occupations there is a state-imposed compulsory retirement age. This arises for members of An Garda Síochána and members of the Defence Forces, for instance. Gardaí are forced to retire from their roles by the age of 60.

General Practitioners are obliged to retire from the General Medical Services scheme when they reach the age of 70. They may, however, continue to practice privately if they are approved by the Medical Council – the Medical Council will ensure that they meet their fitness to practice criteria.

There is no set retirement age when a person is self-employed, similarly, unless specifically set out in the Company’s Articles of Association, Company Directors are not usually bound by a maximum working age either.

Interestingly, employers are allowed to set minimum recruitment ages provided that the minimum age is 18 or under.

The most common company retirement age is 65 and, until recently, people went straight from receiving their salary from the company to receiving a pension from the State (provided they paid enough PRSI contributions during their working life). The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011, however, legislated for certain changes to the pensions system in Ireland effective from 1st January 2014. The State Pension (Transition) has been discontinued for new claimants from 1st January 2014. As a result, the State Pension minimum age has been increased to 66 years for all. It will increase to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 years in 2028.

What this means is that:

  • If a person was born between 1st January 1949 and 31st December 1954 inclusive, the minimum qualifying State Pension age will be 66 (rather than 65).
  • If a person was born between 1st January 1955 and 31st December 1960 inclusive, the minimum qualifying State Pension age will be 67.
  • If a person was born on or after 1st January 1961 the minimum qualifying State Pension age will be 68.

When asked, in 2011, about the changes to the State Pension the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, said:

“Given the changes to State pension age and the other proposals in the Framework, both employees and employers must be encouraged to change their attitudes to working longer. In the workplace employers must seek to retain older employees and create working conditions which will make working longer both attractive and feasible for the older worker. Where this is not possible and people leave paid employment before State pension age they will be entitled to apply for another social welfare payment until they become eligible for a State pension”.

The Transition Pension will not be payable to anyone who reaches 65 years of age after 1st January 2014. Instead, individuals will have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance and should be entitled to receive this payment until they become eligible for the State pension. Jobseeker’s Allowance is considerably less per week than the pension is (€188 compared to €230.30).

Employees due to retire from their jobs upon reaching the age of 65 may not be able to afford to do so for another year unless they are able to access savings, draw down a private pension or unless their employer graciously extends the retirement age. To date there is no obligation on employers to increase the retirement age or to somehow bridge the gap financially however, employers nationwide may find themselves receiving requests to increase the retirement age for employees.

Please note that if an employer wishes to increase the contracted retirement age he or she is still obliged to consult the employee in relation to same as written consent is required to change the terms and conditions of employment.

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