Working in retirement
Can I get a new job after I retire?
In general, people over the age of 65 can be employed or self-employed.
Some jobs have a statutory upper age limit, for example, members of the Garda Síochána must retire by 60. Even if you were subject to a statutory retirement age in your previous job, you can take up a different job or self-employment when you retire.
If you have taken early retirement, you can take up another job or become self-employed. Many people over the "normal" retirement age of 65 continue working past this age.
Before you decide to work in retirement, you should read about the possible impact on your pension, social welfare payments, and tax obligations.
Impact on your public sector pension
If you retired from a public sector job and you are considering returning to work, your pension may be affected.
Returning to work in the public sector
If you were a permanent and pensionable public servant, your pension may be abated if you go back to work in the public sector.
In general, abatement means your pension is reduced. This is to make sure you do not earn more between the pension and the income from employment, than you would otherwise earn if you had stayed in your original employment. The exact conditions of abatement may differ from one pension scheme to another.
It is generally not possible to contribute more to your public sector occupational pension scheme after the normal age of retirement.
Choosing to work in the private sector
If you are getting a public service pension and you go to work in the private sector, your pension is not affected.
Impact on your private sector pension
If you are getting an occupational pension, you can work or be self-employed. Working or being self-employed does not usually affect private pension schemes.
If you are employed, you may be able to continue contributing to an employment pension scheme. While most occupational pension schemes do not accept contributions over the age of 65, some do. You can get tax relief on your pension contributions up to age 70.
Setting up a personal pension
If you are self-employed, or if your new employment does not include an occupational pension, you can set up a personal pension. You can get tax relief on your pension contributions up to age 75.
Impact on your social welfare payments
If you are getting a social welfare payment, working can affect your entitlement. The only exceptions are the State Pension (Contributory) and the Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension, which are not affected by working in retirement.
You should contact your local Intreo centre for information and advice.
Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance
Social insurance (PRSI) contributions
Depending on your age, you may have to pay PRSI (social insurance contributions) if you work in retirement.
If you are under 66
If you are aged under 66 and you are employed or self-employed, you must pay PRSI in the normal way. This rules applies to all workers, regardless of what you did earlier. For example, if you are a former public servant and you take up a job in the private sector, you have to pay full PRSI. In these circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a pro-rata State contributory pension.
You only pay PRSI on your income from employment or self-employment. You do not have to pay PRSI on your pension from a former employment.
Part-time or low-paid work
If you take up part-time work or low paid work, you are still in the PRSI system but you may not have to pay anything. If you earn less than €352 a week, you don't have to pay PRSI. If you earn over €38, your employer has to pay and you have full cover.
Once you step over the €352 limit, you must pay PRSI on all your income from work. A PRSI credit reduces the amount of PRSI payable for people earning between €352.01 and €424 per week. The credit is tapered and the amount of the credit depends on your earnings.
If you are 66 and over
You do not have to pay PRSI contributions after the age of 66, whether or not you are employed or self-employed.
If you do not have enough contributions at age 66, you cannot add to them after that. Unlike some occupational pension arrangements, you cannot retrospectively pay PRSI contributions.
If you are aged 66 and in employment, your employer pays a small PRSI contribution to cover you for occupational injuries. This is called Class J social insurance.
Universal social charge
You must pay the Universal Social Charge (USC) if your gross income (your total pay before any money is deducted) is more than €13,000 per year. You do not pay USC on social welfare or similar payments.
If you are aged 70 or over and your total income for the year is €60,000 or less, you pay a reduced rate of USC.
Reduced rates also apply to certain medical card holders under 70.
Income tax applies to almost all income. People aged 65 and over are subject to the same general tax rules as everyone else, but they do get certain tax exemption limits.
Your employment rights
If you are an older worker, whether full or part-time, you are protected by legislation. This is because most legislation dealing with employment rights does not have an upper age limit. The law protects you in the following areas:
- Information about your terms and conditions of employment
- Holidays and leave
- National minimum wage
- Maximum working hours, rest periods, Sunday working, night working
- Health and safety at work
- Minimum notice - the amount of notice is related to the length of service
If you lose your job and your employer owes you money for arrears of pay, holidays and a number of other items, you may claim this from the Social Insurance Fund.
Under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, you cannot be discriminated against based on your age (with certain exceptions). This applies everyone over the age of 16.
You can read more about age equality in employment.
Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, dismissal on the grounds of age is unfair (with certain exceptions). However, you cannot claim unfair dismissal if you leave employment after reaching the retirement age stated in your contract.
If you are made redundant you may be entitled to a redundancy payment.
You can contact the Workplace Relations Commission’s information and customer service for more information: