Preservation of pension benefits was introduced at different times in the various pre-existing public service pension schemes.
In the civil service, the concept of a preserved pension did not exist prior to 1 June 1973. Under the Superannuation Acts, which govern the pension scheme for Established Civil Servants, in order to obtain a pension benefit an individual was previously required to retire from the civil service having reached their minimum pension age and having accrued a minimum of 10 years’ service.
Preservation of pension was introduced for members of the pension scheme for Established Civil Servants with effect from 1 June 1973 under Circular 46/1975. This circular also reduced the minimum qualifying period of 10 years' reckonable service for the grant of pension to 5 years for those civil servants serving in an established capacity on or after 1 June 1973.
Preservation of pension was introduced with effect from 1 January 1975 (Letter to Personnel Officers 13 July 1976) for members of the pension scheme for Non-Established State Employees who voluntarily resigned with at least 5 years’ service.
Although preservation of pension benefits was already a feature of most pre-existing public service pension schemes, pension providers were legally required to provide preservation of pension benefits for members resigning with 5 years’ qualifying service with effect from 1 January 1991, in accordance with the Pensions Act 1990. This qualifying service requirement was reduced to 2 years, in all pension schemes, with effect from 1 June 2002, in accordance with the Pensions (Amendment) Act 2002.
In public service pension schemes, the minimum service requirement for the grant of pension benefits is generally known as a “vesting period”. This means that on completing the prescribed period a member will have vested pension rights in their pension scheme.