Frequently asked questions

Q: When does an employee’s pensionable service start?

A: An employee’s pensionable service starts from the day he/she starts paying his/her monthly pension contributions and continues until the day he/she stops working as an employee. In other words, one’s pensionable service is the period in which one is an active, contributing member of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

Q: How much does a member contribute towards his or her pension?

A: All GEPF members pay 7.5% of their pensionable salary towards the Fund. New members are, however, allowed to transfer their pension interest from a different pension fund to the GEPF.

Q: How much is the employer contribution?

A: The employer contributes 13% of a member’s pensionable salary, however, the rate is higher for members of the services, i.e. Police, Defence and Correctional Services. The employer contributes 16% of the member’s pensionable salary. Members of Intelligence Services also receive 16% of the member’s pensionable salary.

Q: Who qualifies for Early Retirement (ER)?

A: Public servants from the age of 55 who have not yet reached the age of 60 who wish to retire may apply for early retirement with or without reduction of pension benefits. Educators and the members of the Services (Police, Defence, Correctional and Intelligence Services) also qualify in terms of their own legislation. Any public servant who is 55 years of age but below the age of 60 may apply for ER to their respective Executive Authority ( EA) or delegated authority. The amount of reduction payable to GEPF is one third of a percent for each month between the employee’s retirement date and his or her 60th birthday, e.g. If an employee elects to retire at 55 with a reduction in benefits this would amount to 0.33% x 60 months = 19,9% reduction, averaging 4% per annum. It should be noted that approval of ER is not automatic. Employees who choose to retire without the approval of EA may do so but will have to absorb the pension reduction themselves.

Q: Is it possible to give an example of how is early retirement calculated?

A: Below is an example on how to calculate early retirement with reduction of pension benefits

Simon decided to take early retirement at the age of 56 after 16 years of pensionable service. He kept his spouse’s annuity at 50%. His normal retirement age is 60. At the time of his retirement, Simon’s final salary was R78 000. His normal retirement gratuity would have been as follows:

Gratuity =6.72% x final salary x years of pensionable service

=6.72% xR78 000 x 16 years

=R83 865.60

However, since Simon retired four years (48 months) early, his gratuity was reduced by:1/3 x48 months


Therefore, the total reduction amounted to:

16% x R83 865.60

=R13 418.50

Simon’s final gratuity was:

R83 865.60- R13 418.50

=R70 447.10

His retirement annuity (without downscaling) would have been:

Annuity = (1/55 x final average salary x years of pensionable service) + R360

= (1/55 x R78 000 x16 years + R360

= R23 050,91

Similarly, Simon’s annuity was reduced (i.e. downscaled) by

16% x R23 050.91

= R3 688.15

Therefore, Simon’s final annuity was equal to:

R23 050.91-R3 688.15

=R19 362.76 per year (R1 613.56 per month)

Simon will get a gratuity of R70 447.10 instead of R83 865.60

And an annuity of R1 613.56 instead of R3 688.15

Department of Public Service and Administration