Frequently Asked Employee Questions

When can I join the Pension Scheme?


Every scheme is governed by Rules and one of these rules in is relation to Eligibility. If you refer to the company pension member booklet it will outline when you are eligible to join the scheme. This booklet should be available from your HR Department

How much do I have to contribute?

This will be outlined in the member’s booklet. Normally the employer contributes a fixed percentage of the employee’s salary and requires the employee to contribute the same amount.  You also have the option of contributing an additional amount which can be treated as an AVC. (Additional Voluntary Contribution)

How is my money invested?

The member’s booklet or the online pension site will outline your fund choices. The trustees of the scheme will generally have a Default Investment Strategy, if you do not elect to make an individual investment choice.

How do I switch investment funds?

A procedure will be outlined in your Members Booklet regarding fund switches or you may have the facility to do this online via the pension’s website.

Can I withdraw money from my AVC prior to retirement?

There will be a once-off option for members of occupational pension schemes to withdraw up to 30% of their AVC fund. This option will be available for 3 years from the passing of the Finance Act 2013. “AVCs” include additional voluntary PRSA contributions to an AVC PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account).

  • The option is available in respect of AVCs paid to provide benefits in retirement but does not include AVCs paid for the purposes of purchasing notional service. The definition of AVCs refers to the status of the contribution made. This appears to be a measure to ensure that withdrawals are allowed only in cases of genuine AVCs.
  • Where an AVC fund is subject to a Pension Adjustment Order (PAO), both the scheme member and the spouse or civil partner or former spouse or civil partner of the member may exercise the option independently in respect of their respective ‘‘share’’ of the AVC fund.
  • Amounts paid under this option will be subject to income tax under PAYE. Unless a certificate of tax credits and standard rate cut-off is provided, the higher rate of tax (41%) will apply. Payments will not be liable to the Universal Social Charge (USC). It is intended to exempt them from PRSI in the next Social Welfare and Pensions Bill (date to be confirmed).

Any questions regarding this option should be addressed to your HR manager.

What happens to my pension fund if I change employer?

When you leave service, you will receive a Leaving Service Options letter which outlines the options available.

These include:

  • Transferring your fund to your new employer
  • Transferring your fund to a Personal Retirement Bond or PRSA
  • Leaving your fund with the current employer.
  • When you receive your Options letter you need to consider which option is most appropriate.

The options outlined above are subject to rules, terms and conditions.

Am I eligible for a State pension if I have a private pension?

Yes.

What is the State Retirement Age?

The retirement age for your scheme will be outlined in your member’s booklet. The Government have stated that the age at which citizens are eligible for the State pension will now be:

If you are born between the years below, check the new State Retirement Age

  • 1945 – 1948  State retirement age is 65
  • 1949 – 1954  State retirement age is 66
  • 1955 – 1960 State retirement age is 67
  • After 1960    State retirement age is 68

Can I retire early?

It may be possible to take early retirement (after age 50 years)with the consent of the scheme Trustees.

In the event of redundancy what happens my retirement fund? .

As part of your redundancy process, you will receive a full outline of the pension options available to you. You will then
need to consider which option is most suitable for your needs.

If my employer goes into receivership what happens my pension fund?

The assets of your pension fund are held in a separate Trust which is outside the trading company. The trustee of this trust will contact you regarding your options if the scheme is been Wound Up.

What happens my pension fund on death before retirement?

In the event of your death prior to retirement a legal process is followed that ultimately may make the benefit payable to the personal representative of your estate and subsequently your beneficiaries. The claim process will depend on whether you are claiming benefits from current employment or if it is a Preserved Benefit. Trustees of schemes may at their discretion for current employees pay the benefit directly to qualified dependants.

 

If your question is not covered above, you could refer to the Pensions Board site www.pensionsboard.ie where they have several relevant publications available to download.

 

For clear impartial Retirement Planning Advice: Contact Future