The number of civil servants who retired last year hit a 17-year high, the Ministry of Civil Service said, citing an anticipated reform of the country’s pension system as spurring many government workers to leave their posts.
A total of 31,326 civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel retired last year, hitting an eight year high. Among them, 10,527 were civil servants, the highest figure in 17 years, according to the latest statistics published by the ministry.
The trend began in 2011 when the number of civil servants who retired totaled 10,361, up from 6,000-7,000 from 2002 to 2009, the ministry said.
The surge in the number of civil servants retiring over the past two years was due to the change from the “75 rule” to the “85 rule” in 2011, the ministry said.
The rule of 85 makes civil servants eligible for retirement benefits if their age and years of service add up to 85. Under the new rule, it would take civil servants longer to qualify for retirement benefits, which has led to more of them retiring.
Recent calls for further reform of the pension system also encouraged civil servants to retire earlier, the ministry said.
However, educators have bucked the trend. The number of retired educators has fallen over the years since the government stopped giving civil servants an 18 percent preferential bank savings rate in 2006, reducing retirees’ savings benefits, it said.
As for military personnel, the number of retirees has increased in recent years due to plans to downsize the armed forces and switch to an all-volunteer military by the end of next year, the ministry said.
Also on Thursday, the ministry said that 2,166 police officers retired last year, an increase of 6.43 percent from a year earlier.
It attributed the increase to the changes made in the national pension system and the less strict criteria for police personnel to qualify for retirement benefits, compared with civil servants, because their profession is classified as a dangerous occupation.