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Defence Forces Rates of Pay

Current Rates of Pay for All Ranks

The current rates of pay for all members of the Defence Forces are available through the Department of Defence website.

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Pension Scheme Terms

Anyone joining pensionable public service employment on or after 1st January 2013 is, in general, required to be a member of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme.  This Scheme also applies to former public servants who are returning to pensionable employment in the public service after a break of more than 26 weeks, or returning under a different employment contract.  The rules of the Single Pension Scheme are set down in the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012.

NOTE: Different occupational pension scheme arrangements apply to personnel who joined the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) before 1st January 2013.

Single Pension Scheme – summary of main elements for PDF members
  • It is a Public Service defined benefit scheme, based on Career-Average Earnings.
  • Retirement benefits – pension and lump sum – are based primarily on % of pensionable earnings throughout your public service career as a Single Pension Scheme member.
  • Each year, you build up money amounts on a fast accrual basis towards your Single Pension Scheme retirement benefits.  The total of these amounts at retirement, with some adjustments for increases in inflation during your public service career, determines what your retirement benefits will be.
  • PDF members pay a 7.5% employee pension contribution from salary towards their benefits under the Scheme [see Note 1 below].
  • All public servants must also pay an Additional Superannuation Contribution [see Note 2 below].
  • Under the Scheme, benefits are payable immediately on retirement from the PDF only if you serve to the minimum pension age of 50, and have attained the vesting period of 2 years.  The vesting period is the minimum period of time you must pay employee contributions into the Single Pension Scheme before becoming eligible for retirement benefits.
  • If you finish employment with the PDF before age 50, and have the vesting period, payment of your retirement benefits is normally deferred to the qualifying age for Contributory State Pension (CSP) from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. (For anyone born since 1961, this is age 68).
  • New entrants to the Public Service are insurable for full PRSI. Retirement pension (but not lump sum) is integrated with the State Social Insurance system [see Note 3 below].
  • There is no cap (limit) on the length of time over which members can build pension benefits under the Single Pension Scheme.
  • There is provision for immediate payment of retirement benefits if compulsorily retired on medical grounds, and for death in service benefits (dependents pensions and death lump sum).
  • Following retirement, increases to the Single Scheme pension are linked to inflation.
Note 1:

The 7.5% Single Scheme contribution is comprised of:

  • 4.2% of net pensionable remuneration (this means pensionable remuneration less twice the maximum rate of State Pension Contributory payable from time to time to a person who has no adult or child dependants), plus
  • 3.3% of pensionable remuneration.
Note 2:

Subject to certain exemption thresholds, all public servants who are in pensionable employment – including members of the PDF – are liable to pay an Additional Superannuation Contribution (ASC) from 1st January 2019.  This is separate from the standard employee pension contributions mentioned in Note 1 above.  No additional pension scheme benefits are earned as a result of the ASC.  It applies to pensionable earnings above certain thresholds at different bands and % rates depending on the pension scheme applicable to the member.  From 1st January 2020, the revised ASC bands/rates are as follows:

All Public Servants who are members of the Single Scheme
Additional Superannuation Contribution

First €34,500 of pensionable earnings – exempt

Next €25,500 @ 3.33%

Balance (€60,000 plus) @ 3.5%

Note 3:

New entrants to the Public Service are insurable for full PRSI.  For this reason, public service retirement (or spouse's / civil partner’s) pensions are subject to integration with the State Social Insurance system in line with standard Public Service arrangements. This means that a person’s entitlement to the range of Social Welfare benefits (including the Contributory State Pension - CSP) is taken into account when calculating the amount of retirement pension payable.  In an integrated pension scheme, the CSP or similar contributory Social Welfare benefit is regarded as part of the employee’s total pension package.  Under standard Public Service arrangements, this integration of retirement pension with the Social Insurance system applies from the time the retirement (or spouse’s / civil partner’s) pension commences payment.  This means the retirement pension is adjusted (reduced) from the start by a Social Insurance State Pension offset, regardless of whether the person has reached the Contributory State Pension age (66-68).  Integration applies to retirement pension and also to employee pension contributions, but not to the retirement lump sum.

Further information:

Information note for PDF members of the Single Pension Scheme is available on the Department of Defence website at More general information on the Single Pension Scheme is posted on Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website at

Revised November 2019