15. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps that have been taken or need to be taken to change the mandatory retirement age in the public sector; the cost benefit analysis of increasing the mandatory retirement age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46865/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): An Interdepartmental Working Group, chaired by my Department was established in 2016 to examine the issues arising from prevailing retirement ages for workers in both the public and private sectors. This examination was in the context of the current age of entitlement to the State Pension and the scheduled increases to the State Pension age in 2021 and 2028. 

The Group, whose Report was agreed by Government in August 2016, considered policy around retirement age in both the public and private sectors, examining implications arising from retirement ages now and in the future. The Group identified a set of framework principles to underpin policy in the area and made a number of recommendations assigned to Government Departments and Employer bodies for follow-up in that regard.  A copy of the Report is available online.

In respect of the public service, and on foot of one of the recommendations of the aforementioned Report, my Department, with Public Service employers, was tasked with reviewing the current statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extended participation in the public service workforce up to and including the current age of entitlement to the Contributory State Pension.  In the context of the review, which is well advanced, meetings were held with employers from all public service sectors, including the civil service, local authority and health sectors, supplemented by further interactions and discussions with the employers. Issues in relation to cost, workforce planning, personnel and Human Resource considerations have been considered in the context of the review. 

Future policy in this area will be considered by Government based on proposals which I intend bringing to Government shortly based on the outcome of the review.

Any change in the compulsory retirement ages for public servants would require primary legislation.