At present, there are three Acts which are titled “Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act”. These Acts differ from typical Acts of the Oireachtas in that they are described as being “in the public interest” and they include explanations of why the measures they introduce were taken. The explanations given are mainly concerned with the deteriorating economic conditions, the cost of public service pay and pensions and the need to reduce Exchequer costs. Judges are specifically excluded from the effects of two of these Acts.
Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009
This Act provides for what is generally known as the “Public Service Pension Levy”.
This phrase is not used in the Act.
The Act provides for a deduction to be made from the pay of the public servants who are members of an occupational pension scheme or arrangement. It applies to employees in the Civil Service, the Garda Síochána, the Army, the HSE, local authorities, vocational education committees, primary and secondary schools, third level institutions and non-commercial state bodies. The Act requires that a deduction be made from the pay of these public servants.
The Act also provides that the Minister for Finance may exempt a particular class or group of public servants from this deduction either entirely or to such an extent as he considers appropriate.
Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (No 2) 2009
This Act applies to the same public servants as the earlier Act and it provides for the reduction in pay of such public servants.
This Act also provides that the Minister for Finance may exempt a particular class or group of public servants from this pay reduction or modify the application of the pay reduction to a particular group or class of public servants.
Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010
This Act provided for reductions in the pensions being paid to retired public servants. It does apply to pensions being paid to retired judges.