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Representation in Ireland

FAQs: Pension Rights in the European Union

What are the rules governing payment of pensions if I have worked in a number of Member States during my working life?

The following rules apply if you live and have worked in one or more EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

  • In each country, your insurance record is preserved until you reach pensionable age;
  • Every country where you have been insured for at least one year will pay you an old-age pension, when you reach its national pensionable age.

Example

I worked as a teacher in Milan for approximately twelve years commencing in the 1980s. I then obtained a position in a school in Waterford where I remained until now. Since I am approaching retirement, I wonder how to ensure that the period I worked in Italy is taken into account in calculating my pension.

Can you advise?

You are entitled to a separate pension from every country where you were insured for at least one year. You should submit your pension application to the EU Pensions Section, Department of Social Protection, College Road, Sligo, Co. Sligo, F91 T384. Telephone: 071 9157100

In your case, you will be entitled to pensions from Italy and from Ireland. The amount you receive from each country will be proportionate to your periods of insured employment in each country. The respective pensions will be paid when you reach pensionable age for the country concerned. The pensions will be paid wherever you reside in the EU.

I am an Irish national currently residing and working in the UK, having previously worked in Ireland and Germany.  What are my pension rights?

As an Irish national currently resident in the UK, having previously worked in Germany and Ireland, you will be regarded as being in full scope of social security coverage under Article 30 of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.  This means that you will remain subject to EU social security rules (Regulation 883/2004/EC).  Your contributions made in the UK will be taken into consideration for the purpose of calculation and payment of your pension.

You should receive separate pensions from Germany, Ireland and the UK proportionate to the national insurance contributions made by you in each country on reaching retirement age.

How is my pension calculated?

Your pension will be calculated according to your insurance record in each country: the sum you will receive from each of these countries will correspond to the length of your social security coverage there. You will receive a Summary note (Form P1) which will give you an overview of the decisions made by each country on your claim.

Marie has worked in a number of Member States during her working life.  She has just retired.  She is having difficulty establishing a pension entitlement in one of the States where she previously worked.  Can her entitlement to pension in all States be withheld until the matter is completely resolved?

No.  If any of the institutions to whose legislation she has been subject establishes, during the investigation of her claim, that she satisfies the conditions for entitlement to old-age pension under its legislation, without recourse to the principle of aggregation of periods, it should pay her an independent benefit immediately. If the amount might be affected by the result of the investigation procedure, that payment will be considered provisional.

From the moment it becomes apparent that she is entitled to a pro-rata pension from a given institution, that institution will make an advance payment of an amount as close as possible to the pro-rata pension that will eventually be paid.

The institution(s) making these provisional or advance payments have a duty to inform Marie without delay, specifically drawing her attention to the provisional nature of these payments and of any rights of appeal under the relevant legislation.

Can child-raising periods completed in other EU Member States be taken into account in the calculation of an old-age pension?

Yes, the Court of Justice ruled in Case C-576/20, Pensionsversicherunganstalt in relation to the calculation of an old-age pension in Austria, that child raising periods completed in other Member States should be treated as periods of insurance on the basis of Article 21 TFEU. However, it is important to note in this case that child-raising periods completed in Austria count towards an old-age pension. In this case, the Court found that the plaintiff had worked and paid contributions in Austria before and after the transfer of her residence to another Member State. There was a sufficiently close link between the child-raising periods completed abroad and the periods of insurance completed as a result of employment in Austria.  If she had not left Austria, her child-raising periods would have been taken into account for the purpose of calculating her Austrian old-age pension.  If the child-raising period had been disregarded for the purpose of calculating her old-age pension, she would have been disadvantaged solely because she had exercised her right to freedom of movement, contrary to Article 21 TFEU.

Where should I apply for my pension?

Even if you have worked in several countries, you should apply for your pension in the country where you live, unless you never worked there. In the latter case, you should apply in the country where you last worked.

Supplementary Pension Schemes

Is there EU legislation providing for the protection of rights accrued under a private or supplementary pension scheme when I take up employment in another Member State?

Directive 2014/50/EU on the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights came into force across the EU on 21st May 2018.  If you move to another EU country, your insurer must pay your supplementary pension scheme the same amount and under the same conditions as if you continued to live in Ireland.  In turn, the host country cannot discriminate against your supplementary pension scheme, e.g., by giving national schemes preferential tax treatment.

What is a Pan-European Personal Pension Product?

The pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) was introduced under Regulation (EU) 2019/238 and is a voluntary personal pension scheme that offers consumers a pan-European option to save for retirement. The Regulation became effective from 22nd March 2022.  PEPPs are designed to give savers more choice and provide them with more competitive products, while enjoying strong consumer protection. PEPPs are offered by a broad range of financial providers such as insurance companies, asset managers, banks, certain investment firms and certain occupational pension funds.

Is a PEPP an alternative to state and occupational pensions?

No, a PEPP is not an alternative to state and occupational pensions. A PEPP is a voluntary product, intended to offer citizens an additional option to save for retirement, when putting money aside for old age. PEPPs complement existing public and occupational pension systems, as well as national private pension schemes and do not replace them.

Further information on PEPPs is available here.

Where can I obtain further information on pension rights in the EU?

Further general information on pensions in the EU is available here.

Further Legal Advice on Your Rights

Where can I obtain legal advice on my rights in the EU?

If you require legal advice on your rights in the EU, you may wish to contact the Your Europe Advice service. This is an EU advice service for the public. It consists of a team of 65 independent lawyers who cover all EU official languages and are familiar both with EU law and national laws in all EU countries. They will provide you with free and personalised advice in the language of your choice, within a week.  The response received, either by email or telephone as selected by you, will clarify the European law that applies in your case and explain how you can exercise your EU rights.