At least 17 public servants who retired at 55 in the past five years are back working for government.
In the House of Keys, LibVan MHK Julie Edge asked how many government staff have taken their pension at the age of 55 - and how many ex-employees drawing a public service pension have been re-employed either as employees or consultants.
In a written reply, Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas said a total of 144 public servants had retired at 55 since November 2011, including 37 who retired in the 12 months to the end of October this year.
He said it had not been possible, in the time available, to establish the number who had left via the mutually agreed resignation scheme MARS.
The figure does not include those who retired on ill health grounds or those who may have preserved their pension and then claimed it at the age of 55.
Mr Thomas revealed that of the 144 employees who retired at 55, and claimed their pension during the past five years, 17 individuals (12.19 full time equivalent) have returned to work in substantive roles, mostly in part-time positions.
Of these, 11 (7.45 FTE) are based in Health and Social Care and Education, with the remaining six (4.74 FTE) being based elsewhere.
In addition, a further 50 individuals have registered in bank or supply roles where there is no guarantee of work, to fill short-term needs primarily in bank nursing positions or as supply teachers. A total of 45 of these individuals occupy bank positions with Health and Social Care or Education.
Mr Thomas pointed out that most public sector pension scheme members who retire before normal pension age will have their benefits reduced.
‘The level to which benefits are reduced is designed to be cost neutral and reflect the fact the pension is being paid earlier and for longer,’ he said.
There are also some closed groups of members in the government’s unified pension scheme that are linked to specific employment terms and conditions and permit retirement at age 55 without any reduction to benefits. These groups are linked to historic terms and conditions and policies, all of which have been superseded for many years and as such in the future the number in these groups will soon diminish, he said.
Mr Thomas said it is important to emphasise that any public service staff re-employed following retirement cannot join a public sector pension scheme to earn additional pension.
The total number of retirements was 277 in the 12 months up to November this year, down from 324 the year, and the average age of retirement was 59.2.