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Home > Administration of the civil service >> Retirement

Commonly asked questions on retirement benefits

For Pensionable Officers

Q1

Is the period of pre-retirement leave taken into account as pensionable service in computing pension benefits?

A1

Paid leave including pre-retirement leave period will be taken into account as pensionable service in computing pension benefits. However, the total length of pensionable service shall not exceed the period of pensionable service required for attaining maximum pension, i.e. two-thirds of the highest annual pensionable emoluments enjoyed by an officer.

Q2

If civil service pay increase takes effect during the pre-retirement leave of an officer, should the revised salary be taken into account in computing his/her pension benefits?

A2

Yes, the revised salary will be taken into account in the computation of an officer’s pension benefits. The pension will be calculated on the basis of the officer’s highest annual pensionable emoluments.

Q3

Can an officer opt to receive all pension in one go as a lump sum pension gratuity?

A3

No, the maximum commutation rate is 25% and 50% respectively for officers retiring under the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) and New Pension Scheme (NPS) respectively.

Q4

When will a deferred pension granted to an officer who has resigned after a completion of not less than 10 years’ qualifying service under the NPS be payable?

A4

A deferred pension granted under the Pension Benefits Ordinance (PBO), Cap. 99, which governs the NPS, will be payable to the officer who was appointed to service under the Government on or after 1 July 1987 when he/she attains the age of 60 for civilian officer and the prescribed retirement age under the PBO (i.e. 55 or 57 depending on ranks) for disciplined services officer; whereas for an officer appointed before 1 July 1987 and had opted to join the NPS within the specified option period, the deferred pension will be payable to him/her on attaining the age of 55 for both civilian and disciplined services officer.

Q5

Will monthly pension cease to be payable after certain years to a retired officer if he has received the maximum commuted pension gratuity (25% under OPS and 50% under NPS) on retirement?

A5

The monthly pension will cease to be payable to the pensioner when the pensioner passes away. In other words, irrespective of the number of years that the monthly pension has already been paid, monthly pension will still be payable to the pensioner so long as the pensioner is still alive.

Q6

If a retired officer is re-employed by the Government on non-civil service contract terms, will his/her pension be suspended? How about employment of pensioners by subvented organisations?

A6

Under the current pension suspension policy, if a pensioner is re-employed to the Government, e.g. as a non-civil service contract staff, the payment of his/her pension may be suspended during his/her service of re-employment unless and until he/she has reached the applicable normal or prescribed retirement age under the relevant pension legislations (The pension legislations provide that the normal retirement age for civil servants appointed on pensionable terms is 55 under the OPS. For the NPS, the normal retirement age for civilian officers is 60 and the prescribed retirement age for disciplined services officers is 55 or 57.). Say for example, if a civilian officer retired at age 55 under NPS is re-employed by the Government, he/she is subject to pension suspension arrangement, until he/she has reached the normal retirement age of 60. As no subvented organisation has been gazetted to be public service for the purpose of suspension of pension under the relevant pension legislations with effect from 1 September 2011, pension suspension will not apply to employment of pensioners by subvented organisations.

Q7

If a retired officer passes away, can his/her spouse or legal personal representative continue to receive his/her monthly pension?

A7

No. When an officer retires under the relevant pension legislations, he may choose to commute a certain percentage of his pension into a lump sum pension gratuity. The remaining part of the pension will be payable to the officer on a monthly basis until the officer passes away. There will not be any outstanding pension of the deceased pensioner payable to the spouse or the legal personal representative of the deceased. However, in accordance with pension legislations, where a pensioner dies after retirement from service under the Government, there may be paid a death gratuity depending on the pension benefits already paid or payable to him/her. Generally speaking, if an officer has opted and received the maximum commuted pension gratuity on retirement (25% under OPS and 50 % under NPS), no death gratuity will be payable to the spouse or his/her legal personal representative on his/her death. However, if the officer has not opted for any commuted pension gratuity or has opted and received a commuted pension gratuity of a smaller percentage on retirement, and amount of which plus the total monthly pensions already received is less than the amount of his maximum commuted pension gratuity which he/she could have opted, his/her spouse or legal personal representative will be paid a death gratuity, the amount of which equals to the deceased officer’s maximum commuted pension gratuity which the deceased officer may opt less any pension benefits paid or payable.

Example 1

The maximum commutation rate for pension gratuity is 50% under NPS. It is assumed that an officer has opted 50% and received the maximum commuted pension gratuity of $1,680,000 and a monthly pension of $10,000 on retirement. The officer then passes away three months later. In this situation, no death gratuity will be payable to the spouse or the legal personal representative of the officer concerned.

(Explanation -

Death gratuity = maximum commuted pension gratuity – pension benefits paid
  = $1,680,000  –  ($1,680,000 + $30,000)
  = $0)

Example 2

The maximum commutation rate for pension gratuity is 25% under OPS. It is assumed that the maximum commuted pension gratuity calculated in respect of an officer concerned is $840,000. The officer has not opted for any commuted pension gratuity at time of retirement but only a monthly pension of $20,000. The officer then passes away two years later. In this situation, a death gratuity of an amount $360,000 will be payable to the spouse or the legal personal representative of the officer concerned.

(Explanation -

Death gratuity = maximum commuted pension gratuity – pension benefits paid
  = $840,000 – ($0 + $480,000)
  = $360,000)

Separately, there are two contributory schemes, namely Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme (WOPS) and the Surviving Spouses’ and Children’s Pensions Scheme (SSCPS) operated by the Government, which provide pension benefits to the surviving spouse and/or children of a deceased civil servant who was a member of WOPS/SSCPS. WOPS is governed by the Widows and Orphans Pension Ordinance (Cap. 94) while SSCPS is governed by the Surviving Spouses’ and Children’s Pensions Ordinance (Cap. 79). The payment of a pension under WOPS/SSCPS commences upon the death of the contributor or a former contributor who has a preserved benefit in WOPS/SSCPS.


For Officers on Civil Service Provident Fund (CSPF) Scheme

Q8

Under what circumstances will the accrued benefits attributable to Government Voluntary Contributions (GVC)/Special Disciplined Services Contributions (SDSC) be vested and payable to a CSPF member?

A8

The accrued benefits attributable to the GVC will be fully vested and payable to a CSPF member if he/she:

  • retires from the civil service on or after reaching the normal retirement age;
  • dies in service (in which case the accrued benefits will be paid to the member’s personal representative);
  • retires from the service due to permanent incapacity;
  • leaves the civil service after having completed at least 10 years of continuous service since first appointment on civil service terms; or
  • upon payment of accrued benefits derived from the mandatory contributions to him/her on the ground of terminal illness as provided under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (MPFSO).

The accrued benefits attributable to the SDSC will be fully vested and payable to a member if he/she is a disciplined services officer immediately before retirement/leaving the civil service and:

  • retires from the civil service on or after reaching the prescribed retirement age;
  • dies in service (in which case the accrued benefits will be paid to the member’s personal representative); or
  • retires from the service due to permanent incapacity.

Alternatively, SDSC will be fully vested and payable to a member if he/she is a serving disciplined services officer immediately before payment to him/her of his/her accrued benefits attributable to the mandatory contributions on the ground of terminal illness.

The accrued benefits attributable to the GVC of a CSPF member who resigns on completion of 10 continuous years of service since first appointment on civil service terms will, subject to the provisions that mentioned in the following paragraph, be fully vested and payable to him/her. However, the accrued benefits attributable to the SDSC is not payable unless the member satisfies one of the above vesting conditions for SDSC.

There are provisions to enable the forfeiture and reduction of accrued benefits attributable to the GVC and SDSC on disciplinary grounds, and withholding of such benefits in case of doubt.

Q9

When can a CSPF Scheme member receive the accrued benefits attributable to mandatory contributions?

A9

Mandatory contributions made by the Government and member are 100% and immediately vested in the member. A CSPF member can withdraw his/her accrued benefits attributable to mandatory contributions when meeting one of the payment requirements stipulated under the MPFSO, which include:

  • reaching age 65;
  • early retirement between age 60 and 64 (permanent cessation of employment);
  • permanent departure from Hong Kong;
  • total incapacity;
  • a small balance account of $5,000 or less, and no contributions have been made to a Mandatory Provident Fund scheme for 12 months;
  • death (the accrued benefits will be regarded as part of the member’s estate to be claimed by the personal representative of the estate); or
  • terminal illness.

Q10

When can a CSPF member withdraw the accrued benefits attributable to his/her own voluntary contributions?

A10

The accrued benefits attributable to a member’s own voluntary contributions are always fully vested in him/her. Withdrawal of the accrued benefits attributable to such contributions will be made in accordance with the provisions of the Master Trust Scheme the member has joined.



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