Retiring from work


For many of us, the prospect of retirement from work provides an opportunity to seek fresh directions and new challenges. You may, for example, be thinking of taking up a different area of paid or voluntary work, learning some new skills, embarking on some travel or just spending more time on a favourite hobby or pastime.

Planning for your retirement will give you the best chance of maximising your time, adjusting to this lifestyle change and help you budget for the type of financial security you would like during retirement. People today are living longer, healthier lives so it's important to plan in advance for this new phase in life.

Lifestyle changes

For most of us, the move from work to retirement takes place on a specified date and is not negotiable. In other words, you retire from work when you reach a particular age or another date that is set out in your contract of employment. Other people may be in a position to gradually ease into retirement by reducing their workload or doing part-time work. The following information outlines the various issues that may arise as you make the change from work to retirement and provides information that may help you to make a smooth transition. A number of organisations throughout the country provide pre-retirement courses which may help you to prepare for retirement. Active retirement is a concept while has become increasingly popular in Ireland and there are a range of active retirement organisations which promote education and leisure activities for retired people.

Working in retirement

Some retired people may simply have retired from one occupation. For that reason, you may regard retirement as a job change rather than a total withdrawal from the labour market. Retiring from work therefore may simply signal a career change. Most legislation dealing with the protection of employees in Ireland does not have an upper age limit. This means that if you are working in retirement, then you have the same employment rights as everyone else. If you decide to work part-time, you can find out about employment rights of part-time workers.

Retirement age

There is no single retirement age in Ireland, although 65 is generally regarded as the age most people retire at. There are upper age limits that restrict entry for various activities, such as entry to some professions.

Most contracts of employment have a mandatory retirement age - the age at which you must retire. The usual retirement age in contracts of employment is 65. Many employment contracts, however, make provision for early retirement from age 60, (or in some cases, from age 55). Most also make provision for early retirement on health grounds.

The Employment Equality Acts provide for age equality in employment but they do not prevent the setting of different ages for retirement. If you opt for early retirement, you may need to take various steps to ensure that you maintain your entitlement to social welfare pensions.

Income supports while retired

Before you decide to retire from work, you may need to know what income supports are available. If you are taking early retirement, you may consider yourself unemployed rather than retired and you may need information on benefits for unemployed people. If you are made redundant you may be entitled to a statutory redundancy lump sum. If you retire early, for whatever reason, you may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit and subsequently, to Jobseeker’s Allowance. You may also be eligible for a range of back to work and back to education schemes.


There are various types of pension available. You may have contributed to a pension scheme during your working life, in which case you will get an occupational pension or have a personal pension arrangement. You need to deal directly with the pension provider to find out exactly what benefits your pension gives you.

If you made sufficient PRSI contributions during your working life, at age 66 you may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory). If you have not made sufficient PRSI contributions, you can apply for a State Pension (Non-Contributory), which is means-tested. You may also be entitled to Free Travel and to the Household Benefits Package


You may need to find out about how lump sum compensation payments are taxed. There are some special tax arrangements for people aged 65 or over. You may also need to find out how pensions are taxed.

Retiring to Ireland from abroad

Every year, many people choose to retire in Ireland. If you are considering this option, you can find out about moving to Ireland.

Legal issues and older people

It's easy to postpone thinking about what will happen when you get older or if you become unable to manage your own financial and legal affairs. However, it is important for anyone at any age to consider these issues. There are legal arrangements in the event of incapacity and you can find out about making a will and power of attorney.

Page edited: 20 June 2014