Retiring from work

Introduction

Planning for your retirement will help you make the most of your time, adjust to this lifestyle change and plan your finances. People today are living longer, healthier lives – so it’s important to plan in advance for this new phase in life.

Planning

Sudden or gradual changes?

You may have no choice about when you retire. For example, your contract of employment may end on a specific date or when you reach a particular age. Or you may be able to gradually ease into retirement by reducing your workload or doing part-time work.

How can I prepare for retirement?

Think about the information outlined here on the various issues that may arise as you make the change from work to retirement, and follow the links for more information. A number of organisations throughout the country provide pre-retirement courses to help you to prepare for retirement. A range of active retirement organisations promote education and leisure activities for retired people.

Must I retire at a certain age?

There is no single retirement age as such 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.

  • There is a statutory, (that is, set out in legislation), retirement age for some public servants. You can find out more in our document on retirement age. Most contracts of employment have a mandatory retirement age (the age at which you must retire). This is usually 65. Many employment contracts, however, allow for early retirement from 60 (or in some cases, from 55). Most also allow for early retirement on health grounds.
  • If you choose early retirement, you should check that you will be entitled to social welfare payments.
  • The law allows employers to set a mandatory retirement age provided they can justify it on objective grounds. (For details see section 34 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 as amended by the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015.)

What if I plan to retire to Ireland from abroad?

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

What legal issues should I consider?

Don’t put off thinking about what will happen when you get older or if you become unable to manage your own financial and legal affairs. It is important for anyone, at any age, to consider these issues. Find out about:

  • Legal arrangements in the event of incapacity
  • Making a will
  • Power of attorney

When you retire

Can I go on working in retirement?

Yes. Most legislation dealing with the protection of employees 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 have the same employment rights as other part-time workers.

What income supports may I apply for while retired?

  • 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 then to Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • You may also be eligible for a range of back to work and back to education schemes. Pensions Various types of pension are available.
  • If you have contributed to a pension scheme during your working life, 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 66 you may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory). (The qualifying age was expected to rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. In Budget 2021, it was announced that the qualifying age for a State pension will continue to be 66). 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.

Pensions

Various types of pension are available.

  • If you have contributed to a pension scheme during your working life, 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 66 you may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory). (The qualifying age was expected to rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. In Budget 2021, it was announced that the qualifying age for a State pension will continue to be 66).
  • 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.

How will I be taxed?

If you receive lump sum compensation payments on retirement, you should find out how they 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.

Find out about:

Page edited: 19 October 2020