LCQ16: Civil service pension schemes

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (January 19):


     Currently, there are two civil service pension schemes, namely, the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) and the New Pension Scheme (NPS) which require civil servants in civilian grades serving on pensionable terms to retire at 55 and 60 respectively, and those who have joined OPS may even opt for early retirement.  Some civil servants have relayed to me that with longer life expectancy of the population and diversified medical and health services in Hong Kong, most civil servants who have reached their retirement age are still physically fit and capable of giving full play to their strength and expertise at work.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of civil servants who are under OPS and NPS at present;

(b) whether the authorities have measures in place to extend the retirement age of civil servants; if so, of the measures concerned; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether the authorities have any mechanism in place to enable civil servants who are currently under OPS to join NPS; if so, of the mechanism concerned; if not, the reasons for that?



     The existing statutory pension schemes for civil servants appointed on pensionable terms are the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) and the New Pension Scheme (NPS).  Governed by the Pensions Ordinance (Cap.89), the OPS is applicable to civil servants appointed before July 1, 1987.  The normal retirement age for all civil servants under the OPS is 55, but those having attained the age of 45 may apply for early retirement (on medical, adequate compassionate or personal grounds) in accordance with the pensions legislation and Civil Service Regulations.  Governed by the Pension Benefits Ordinance (Cap. 99), the NPS is applicable to civil servants appointed from July 1, 1987 to May 31, 2000 as well as those appointed before July 1, 1987 and have opted to join the NPS.  Under the NPS, the normal retirement age for civilian civil servants is 60, but those appointed before July 1, 1987 and have opted for this scheme may retire at the age between 55 and 60.  Under the NPS, the prescribed retirement age for disciplined grades civil servants is 55/57, but they may retire between 50/55 and 55/57, depending on their ranks.

     My reply to the question is as follows:

(a) As at January 1, 2011, the numbers of civil servants on the OPS and the NPS were about 9,000 and 118,000 respectively.

(b) Extending the existing retirement age will affect the Government's absorption of new blood into the civil service for a period of time.  It will also reduce civil service job openings in the labour market and impact on the promotion prospects of serving civil servants.  The Civil Service Bureau (CSB) has no plan at this juncture to change the retirement age of civil servants, but will continue to follow closely discussions on this front in the community.

(c) The NPS is governed by the Pension Benefits Ordinance.  In accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance, the CSB issued a circular in 1987, announcing that civil servants on the OPS who were eligible to opt for the NPS had to submit their applications within the specified option period if they wished to join the NPS.  According to the circular, eligible civil servants who opted to join the NPS must submit their applications by the end of 1995.  As civil servants on the OPS have been given ample time to opt for the NPS and the option period has long expired, we cannot accept any application to join the NPS now.

Ends/Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:34