Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003

Written Answers. - Benchmarking Awards.

  209. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science when retired teachers will be paid their benchmarking increase; the reason it is taking so long; the reason they have not received this payment to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23962/03]

[1549]   Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Retired teachers whose pensions are paid directly by my Department, i.e. those who served in primary, secondary, community and comprehensive schools, have already, in August 2003, received the benefit of the first phase of the benchmarking award in their pensions. Their pensions have been increased and they have also received arrears of pension due with effect from 1 December 2001, the effective date of the benchmarking award.

  Teachers who have retired on pension since August 2003 have also received the benefit of the benchmarking increase in their retirement lump sums. Those who retired between 1 December 2001 and August 2003 are due to have their retirement lump sums revised. This work has commenced and is expected to be completed by the end of November.

  With regard to vocational teachers, the position is that vocational education committees are responsible for determining the pension entitlements of such teachers and for calculating revisions of the pension rates in accordance with increases in rates of salary which have been sanctioned by my Department. The pensioners' payroll is operated by the appropriate county council or corporation which issues payments following receipt of the approved rates of pension from the VEC.

  In regard to the benchmarking increase, the position is that my Department notified vocational education committees on 31 July 2003 of the revised rates of salary and allowances and conveyed sanction for their application in the revision of the pensions of former teachers.

  If the Deputy wishes to provide the pensions unit of my Department with details of any particular instance of delay in payment of the benchmarking increase to a pensioner, my Department will examine the matter and correspond directly with the Deputy.