A voluntary early retirement scheme and a voluntary redundancy scheme has been approved for management and administrative grades, including support staff, in the public health service. All applications from management and administrative staff to avail of the schemes will be approved automatically subject to the overall cost of the schemes not being breached. The schemes are voluntary and will be available on a once-off basis to employees in the grades concerned but will not be repeated. Funding of up to €400m will be made available in 2010 to fund the up-front costs of both schemes.
The purpose of the schemes is to achieve a permanent reduction in the numbers employed in the public health sector from 2011 onwards and to facilitate health service reform.
Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme (VER)
The VER scheme is open to eligible employees who are at least 50 years of age and over by November 19 2010, who have already accrued entitlement to preserved superannuation benefits under a public health service scheme (2 calendar years’ reckonable service) at that date, and who have not yet reached normal preserved pension age (60 or 65 as appropriate).
The scheme provides for immediate payment of pension entitlement on retirement, with no reduction in respect of payment prior to minimum retirement age (no actuarial reduction).
Immediate payment of pension related lump sum entitlement on retirement, i.e. full lump sum entitlement accrued to retirement date with no reduction in respect of payment prior to minimum retirement age (no actuarial reduction).
The January 2010 pay reductions will be disregarded for the purpose of calculating pensionable remuneration under the VER , i.e. payment will be based on salary rates applicable at December 31 2009.
Voluntary Redundancy Scheme
The Voluntary Redundancy Scheme will apply to those in the target categories who are under preserved pension age at November 19 2010, who have already accrued entitlement to preserved superannuation benefits under a public health service scheme (2 calendar years’ reckonable service) at that date.
The voluntary redundancy terms provide for the payment of a severance payment of 3 weeks pay per year of actual service and statutory entitlement under the Redundancy Payments Acts, or the equivalent, subject to an overall limit of (1) 2 years pay; or, if less (2) one-half of the salary payable to preserved pension age.
Employees who pay modified PRSI rates (Class D) will receive the equivalent terms to those with statutory entitlements.