Government Superannuation Fund - Origins

Superannuation has been an important issue in the history of the PSA, starting with the Public Service Superannuation Act of 1907, which was one of the issues that drove the establishment of the Civil Service Association (CSA) the previous year.

The Act established a defined benefit scheme rather than a contributory scheme, with benefits calculated on average salary over the final 3 years of service.  Age qualification was 65 for men and 55 for women and membership was compulsory for new entrants. In the 1930s the PSA, together with other state unions, fought off attempts by the government to require higher contributions under the scheme and in 1945, after PSA lobbying, the 3 years was extended to 5 years and a cap of £300 on benefits was removed. In 1948 the scheme was substantially reformed into the Government Superannuation Fund, which consolidated the public service scheme with those of the railways and teachers. 

The PSA, along with other state unions, was represented on the Board. Age qualification was changed to 60 (and 40 years’ service) for men and 55 (and thirty years’ service) for women. From 1962, with the advent of equal pay and following difficult negotiations, women were to join the GSF under virtually the same conditions as men.

(Sources: Bert Roth, Remedy for Present Evils: A history of the New Zealand Public Service Association from 1890, New Zealand Public Service Association, 1987 and Neill Atkinson Rewarding Service: A History of the Government Superannuation Fund, UOP, 2002)

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