Transition to retirement arrangements for Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) members

Last updated: 12 Dec 2016

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Transition to retirement arrangements allow employees who have reached their preservation age to start receiving their superannuation benefit whilst remaining with the same employer. This is on the proviso that the benefit is paid as an income stream, such as a pension which cannot be converted to a lump sum.

For CSS members, transition to retirement arrangements require a change of employment status so that the employee ceases to be a CSS contributing member. There is no power under the Public Service Act 1999 or subordinate legislation for an agency to compulsorily change an employee's status from ongoing to non-ongoing.

In order to access transition to retirement arrangements, an employee needs to end their ongoing employment by resigning, and thereafter be re-employed on a non-ongoing part-time basis.

Section 24 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016 (the Directions) allows an agency head to engage an ongoing employee as a non-ongoing employee for this purpose without complying with the usual merit selection requirements. In order for this provision to operate the person must:

  • be engaged for a specified term or specified task
  • resign as an ongoing employee in order to start the engagement, and
  • be engaged as a non-ongoing employee at the same or lower classification than their current classification.

An engagement of a person as a non-ongoing employee is subject to the maximum time limits specified in Public Service Regulation 3.4 and 3.5.

It should be noted that access to transition to retirement is not an entitlement. There is no obligation on an agency to engage a person as non-ongoing solely to allow them to access the arrangements. Given this, ongoing employees will need to determine whether their agency is able and willing to assist with transition to retirement before making any decisions.

The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation's (CSC) Transition to retirement fact sheet contains further information on these arrangements.

Note: Information provided on transition to retirement arrangements and related considerations does not take into account the individual circumstances of employees and should not be used as a substitute for specific professional or financial advice.