The Government has agreed the text of new legislation that will allow thousands of public servants work until they are 70 years of age.

As people are living longer and are in better health, many public servants want to work for longer, but they cannot because of a mandatory retirement age of 65 for those recruited before 2004.

Today, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe brought the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018 for approval by his Cabinet colleagues.

The bill provides for an increase to age 70 in the compulsory retirement age for most public servants recruited before 1 April 2004.

This group of public servants currently has a compulsory retirement age of 65. 

Public Servants recruited after 1 April 2004 are not affected by the changes agreed today as they either already have a retirement age of 70, as they are Single Pension Scheme members, or they have no compulsory retirement age as they were recruited between 1 April 2004 and 31 December 2012.

On 5 December last, the Government agreed that the compulsory retirement age of most public servants recruited before 1 April 2004 should be increased to age 70.

Today the necessary legislation for this change was agreed.

The bill is on the priority list of legislation to be published and it is expected to be published in the coming days.

While the new proposal will allow most public sector employees to work up to 70 years of age, they will be still be free to retire at the minimum retirement age if they so wish.

The bill provides for the amendment of all relevant public service pension schemes so that these schemes will allow members to accrue pension benefits on their service between the age of 65 and 70. 

It is understood that there is widespread political support for this measure and a Government spokeswoman said: "Staff interests have been consulted and are anxious to have the legislation enacted."