Fórsa has welcomed new legislation allowing public servants to retire up to the age of 70.
The legislation completed its passage through the Seanad in December and became effective as soon as it was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on 26th December.
The new legislation avoids more staff suffering a huge gap in retirement income when forced to leave work a year before they reach the new state pension age of 66.
Fórsa had previously expressed concerns that the legislation could be delayed into 2019, which would have meant public servants who turned 65 during the Christmas break would be forced to retire.
However an amendment, to remove the requirement for a commencement order to bring the provisions of the Bill into effect, meant that the Bill became effective as soon as it was signed by the President.
The Government bowed to union pressure last year and agreed to legislate to give civil and public servants the option to retire at any age between 65 and 70 if they choose.
This was necessary because many civil and public servants depend on the state pension for a substantial part of their retirement income. The issue has had a massive impact on the individuals who were caught offside by the previous legal requirement to retire at age 65 or, in some cases, before.
Fórsa further requested that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issue a circular to public service employers to advise on how the legislation would affect public servants approaching the age of 65 as the legislation took effect.
Interim measures, which allowed them to be re-hired until age 66, are unpopular as they treat staff as if they were newly employed. This also means a significant drop in income, even though they are still working.
The ICTU Public Services Committee has written to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform seeking to address the position of the 450 staff who retired and were re-employed on 12 month contracts while the legislation was working its way through the Oireachtas.