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Bill to Provide Flexibility in Clergy Pension Increases Presented at Synod

Bill to Provide Flexibility in Clergy Pension Increases Presented at Synod

A Bill seeking to remove the ceiling on the amount by which pensions payable to members, and to the spouses of deceased members, of the Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Fund may be increased from one year to the next was proposed at General Synod in Wexford today (Friday May 12).

The Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Trustee DAC considered that a ceiling figure in Section 61 of Chapter XIV of the Constitution impeded the ability of the Trustee to respond to the needs of individuals in receipt of pensions or child dependency allowances under the fund and could cause hardship. The Trustee also considered that the requirement that any increase in pensions or child dependency allowances only take effect on and from 1st January the following year might result in delay, causing further hardship.

The Representative Body agreed with the recommendations of the Trustee and proposes Bill No 8 in the names of Robert Neill and the Ven Barry Forde at the request of the Representative Church Body.

Proposing the Bill, Mr Neill said that it related to the Clergy Defined Benefit Pensions Fund which was closed to new entrants in 2013 but remained open for payment of pensions in respect of all service prior to July 2013.

“The changes come recommended by the scheme trustee and are proposed by the Representative Body. This Bill simply provides flexibility both to allow pension increases above 5% in any one year and to allow freedom for the timing of any increase,” he stated.

The Bill passed its first and second stages and will receive its third reading on Tuesday May 16 when Synod will meet on line.

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