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Act 18, 2022 Retirement of Ministers

1.            The General Assembly, seeking to clarify and update the legislation governing the retirement of Ministers, enact and ordain as follows:

1.            Retirement. For a Minister inducted to a charge, or appointed to a full-time or part-time post the following rules apply:

1.1.         Retirement shall normally be at State Pension Age (subject to a minimum age of 65 years).

1.2.         If retirement is not at State Pension Age, the Minister shall demit his charge or post with effect from 30th September following his attainment of State Pension Age plus five years (unless with the permission of the General Assembly).

1.3.         A Minister may apply for permission to retire up to ten years before State Pension Age.

2.            Process. All applications for retirement under the terms set out in Paragraph 1 are processed through the Kirk Session to the Presbytery for their consideration and approval.

2.1.         Kirk Session. A Minister in a Charge must inform his Kirk Session of his intention to retire and give notice of the proposed retirement date.

2.1.1.     Surrender of Benefits. The Minister’s retirement shall involve the surrender of the emoluments of the Charge, and the vacation of the manse unless the Deacons’ Court permits continuing occupation for a period.

2.1.2.     Extract Minutes. The Kirk Session will forward the application to the Presbytery with an extract minute showing receipt of the application and their approval of it. The Extract Minute must show that the applicant has agreed to withdraw from his rights of active participation in the courts of the congregation – his right to respond to a specific request from the Moderator or Interim Moderator of the congregation being unchanged.

2.2.         Presbytery. The Presbytery, in approving the application, will take note that the agreement to resile from rights in the congregational courts has been duly minuted by the Kirk Session before forwarding the application to the Central Office.

2.2.1.     Extract Minute. The Presbytery will forward the application to the CEO with an extract minute showing receipt of the agreement to resile from rights in the congregational courts and stating their approval of the application.

3.            Vacancy. The Congregation shall be deemed to be vacant, and declared to be vacant, by order of the Presbytery after the specified retirement date has been reached.

4.            Retirement Benefits.

4.1.         Free Church Pension Scheme. Those Ministers with qualifying service in the closed Free Church of Scotland Pension Scheme shall address applications for payment of retirement benefits to the Scheme Administrator.

4.1.1.     For the closed Free Church of Scotland Pension Scheme, the Scheme Rules indicate that Normal Retirement Age is 65; annual pension payments are reduced for early retirement and increased for late retirement; benefits must be taken by age 75.

4.1.2.     Applications for early retirement on the grounds of ill-health shall be subject to the rules of the closed Free Church of Scotland Pension Scheme.

4.2.         Defined Contribution Scheme. Applications for payment of pension benefits in respect of service after 31st December 2007 shall be directed to the Defined Contribution Scheme Administrator.

4.3.         Financial Advice. All Ministers are encouraged to seek independent financial advice when considering options for retirement.

5.            Jurisdiction. The retired Minister is under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery under whose boundaries he resides.

6.            Repeal. The General Assembly repeal Act 7, Class 2, 1994 anent Church’s Pension Fund.