Recognition of same sex marriages/civil partnerships
DPER Circular 18/2020:
Recognition of same sex marriages/civil partnerships under Public Service ‘Original’ Spouses’ and Children’s Contributory Pension Scheme’
Brief Background / Explanation
This Circular relates to spouses and children’s pension benefits for same sex couples.
It is of limited application; it is relevant only to ;
- former members of ‘original’ public service spouses’ and children’s (‘S&C’) schemes (introduced in 1970s and 1980s for PDF); or
- former pensionable public servants who elected not to join an original S&C scheme when the membership option was made available to them.
The Circular deals with new obligations which arise under legislation1 and apply to same sex couples (one partner being a member of a public service pension scheme) where the individuals concerned entered a same sex marriage or civil partnership after retirement and within three years of enactment of the legislation2 that enabled them to do so.
The legislation1 applies to same sex couples (one partner being a member of a public service pension scheme) in circumstances in which the former public servant elected not to join an original S&C scheme when such schemes were introduced into the public service, and did not subsequently become a member of a revised scheme.
Under the legislation1, the right of entitlement of a former public servant to pension benefits is specifically linked, and limited, to:
- the individual having been in a committed relationship with another person of the same sex at the time he or she reached the date of retirement,2
- he or she having, within a period of three years from the date of enactment of the relevant legislation2 enabling legal recognition of same sex relationships in Ireland (i.e. the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 and the Marriage Act 2015), entered into a civil partnership or marriage with that other person or had their foreign civil partnership or marriage legally recognised within the State under that legislation, and
- payment being made in respect of the contributions, and any interest applied in respect of those contributions, that are required to be paid into the scheme for the purpose of obtaining entitlement to those benefits.
- The Circular will not be relevant to members/former members of the ‘revised’ S&C schemes (introduced in 1980s for PDF). nor the Single Public Service Pension Scheme, as these schemes provide for marriages or civil partnerships that are entered into post-retirement.
- The legislation1 does not provide for a right to pension benefits in respect of persons who are not, or never were, members of a public service pension scheme.
- Reference to ‘member’ includes a member who has died.
1 Section 27 of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018 (the ‘2018 Act’) which inserted a new Part VIIA into the Pensions Act 1990 (the ‘1990 Act’)
2 the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 and the Marriage Act 2015
DPER Circular 18-2020