There are three schemes for the award of Professional Added Years operating in the civil service:
Revised Old Scheme
Circular 12/1997 amended an original 1985 scheme to create the ‘Revised Old Scheme’, which applies to persons appointed to established professional, technical or specialist posts who were serving between 1 January 1993 and 31 March 1997. Relevant staff serving between 1 January 1993 and 31 March 1997 may opt for the Revised Old Scheme or the New Scheme.
The ‘New Scheme’ was introduced under Circular 12/1997 and applies to persons appointed to established professional, technical or specialist posts on or after 1 April 1997, or to persons serving in a professional, technical or specialist post between 1 January 1993 and 31 March 1997 who opt to be assessed under the terms of the New Scheme.
The Revised Old Scheme and the New Scheme share the same core rules, with the main difference being the calculation methodology.
New Entrant Scheme
The ‘New Entrant Scheme’ was introduced under Circular 8/2005 and applies to persons appointed to established professional, technical or specialist posts from a competition advertised on or after 1 April 2005, who are New Entrants in accordance with the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004.
An award of PAY may be made where a permanent, pensionable employee was recruited to a professional, technical or specialist post by way of open competition and:
(i) (a) minimum professional, technical or specialist qualifications and/or a minimum number of years essential experience were required for entry; or
(b) the minimum entry age specified in the competition was over 25;
(ii) by reason of those entry requirements it is not possible for the individual to secure 40 years' service by the age of 65 years (or the age specified in the PAY scheme rules).
Gross PAY award
The maximum gross PAY award available is 10 years under the Revised Old Scheme and the New Scheme, and 5 years under the New Entrant Scheme. A PAY award may also be limited based on an individual’s actual service, and is subject to the individual’s total reckonable service not exceeding 40 years. Limitations to the gross award will be determined based on the rules of the PAY scheme applicable to the member, and based on individual career histories.
Net PAY award (abatement of gross award)
A gross PAY award may be abated at retirement to give a net award, which is the actual additional service credited to the member for the purposes of calculating their pension benefits. Abatement (or reduction) of a gross award may occur for a number of reasons including for example, where the member has previous pensionable service or holds retained benefit from an earlier employment.
Reductions to the net award can also occur where the individual has availed of a career break or unpaid leave, or where an individual resigns prior to age 60.
An award of PAY can only be formally made at retirement. As a net award can only be confirmed at retirement, and as a gross award may be partially or fully abated, members should not make financial or pension-related decisions based on a potential PAY award.