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Secondment (Pension Implications)


Secondment is a form of public service mobility that involves the transfer, on loan, of a civil or public servant to another civil or public service body for a specific time period or a specific purpose, generally to carry out specific work.

Secondment policy exists to facilitate the filling of time-bound positions to facilitate a strategic project, or a placement that requires a specialist knowledge and skillset. It is intended to allow individuals to broaden their skillset and experience while retaining a right to return to their substantive post at the end of the secondment term. At the same time, the parent organisation can benefit from the individual’s enhanced skillset and experience on return from secondment.

In accordance with secondment policy, all secondments should be temporary in nature, and will generally be offered for a period of six months up to a maximum of five years. At the end of the period of secondment, the employee return to their parent organisation on the salary and the terms and conditions applying to their substantive grade.

Further information on secondment in the civil service is available here.

Pension implications arising from secondment

Where a civil or public servant avails of secondment, they are temporarily assigned to carry out work in another body but they remain an employee of their parent organisation. The individual continues to be a member of their parent organisation’s pension scheme, and their pension arrangements remain unchanged. This means that the seconded employee pays all pension contributions on the basis of membership of their parent organisation’s pension scheme and based on their substantive grade/salary. In addition, any pension benefits payable will be based on the pensionable remuneration of their substantive grade, that is, the grade at which the individual is employed in their parent organisation.

Employer contribution

In the case of secondments from the civil service to an outside organisation (including public service bodies), an employer contribution is required to be paid by the outside organisation to the individual’s parent organisation in respect of the pension costs incurred by the exchequer for the period spent on secondment.

An employer pension contribution of 30% of gross salary applies in the case of staff who entered the civil service before 6 April 1995, and 25% of gross salary in the case of staff who entered the civil service after 6 April 1995. Further information is set out in Department of Finance Letter to Personnel Officers of 20 September 2005.

Supporting information