How does early retirement work for civil servants

Discover how State employees become eligible for retirement

After years of hard work and dedication, retirement is a well-deserved reward. Here, we will explain early retirement for the self-employed. According to legislation, those wishing to retire must have reached the statutory age in order to be eligible for this right, irrespective of the industry in which they work. Occasionally, however, it is possible to take early retirement, provided a series of requirements is met. The requirements are general to all workers, although there are certain exceptions that alter the process somewhat for certain circumstances.

As general rule, those wishing to retire must have reached the statutory age by the year of retirement. That age rose recently, and will continue to do so until 2027, reaching 67 years except for who can prove at least 38.5 years of statutory pension contributions, who may retire from the age of 65 with no penalty. Workers must have made statutory contributions for at least 15 years, two of which must have been in the 15 years immediately preceding the point of retirement.

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Voluntary early retirement for civil servants under the General Regime


Early retirement lets you enjoy the advantages of retirement before reaching statutory age. However, the following requirements must be met:

  • You must be no more than two years younger than the statutory retirement age.
  • You must have made 35 years or more of statutory contributions.
  • At least two of those years must have been within the 15 years immediately preceding the retirement request.
  • You must be registered with Social Security or in an equivalent situation.

Public servants

The situation of civil servants was defined by the 2011 pensions reform. The reform split public employees into two pensioner groups, which had a direct influence on retirement age and pension amount.

  • Civil servants before January 1, 2011: these are included in the Civil Servants Group Special Regime and are eligible for retirement at 65, except for university lecturers, judges, senior judges, public prosecutors, court clerks and land registrars, who will work until 70.
  • Civil servants after January 1, 2011: these are included in the Social Security General Regime and their retirement age rises progressively, eventually reaching 67 by 2027.

However, in order to be eligible for a pension, both groups must have made statutory pension contributions for at least 15 years.

How does early retirement for civil servants differ?

Once again, the exceptions are defined by the creation of two groups of public workers in 2011, following the pension reform: those included in the Public Servants Group are entitled to retire at 60, provided they have worked for the Public Service for at least 30 years. In addition, their pension amounts are not affected by their early retirement.

Something important to take into consideration is whether contributions to other social protection systems need to be included to reach the 30-year minimum requirement. Under Royal Decree 691/1991, of April 12, it is required that “the last five years of eligible services to determine retirement pension are covered in the State Public Servants Group Regime”.

This rule, which was extended by the 2014 Budget Act, also applies when calculating insurance, residence or equivalent periods covered outside Spain through bilateral agreement or EU rules in co-ordination with other social security systems, unless, having taken place in Spain, it was mandatory for them to be included in the Civil Servants Regime.

In turn, university lecturers, judges, senior judges, public prosecutors, court clerks and land registrars are eligible for early retirement at 65. Likewise, workers of the Spanish Parliament may retire at 60 or when they have reached 35 years of effective service for the State.

On the contrary, for the group of civil servants included in the Social Security Regime, the retirement process is the same as for all other workers, as seen in the section above. In other words, they may be no more than two years younger than the statutory retirement age and must have made statutory contributions for at least 35 years. In this case, the reduction ratio does apply to the early retirement pension.

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The retirement pension, where early otherwise, is calculated for civil servants according to the number of years of contributions, as is the case for any worker, as well the public body they served and their rank. In the case of the Civil Servants Group, so-called “regulatory income” is the basis on which the pension amount is calculated. They are set by the State in the General Budget and are applied as a percentage based on years worked that varies from 1.24% (one year) to 100% (35 years or more). For the Social Security Regime, a Regulatory Base is applied, as is the case for all other workers. One hundred per cent is applied when at least 35.5 years of statutory contributions are made (37 years from 2027); however, a reduction ratio is applied for each quarter or fraction of a quarter that the retirement is earlier than the statutory time.

Taking into account all the circumstances that can affect the value of your state pension, a pension plan can also be the ideal tool for a public sector employee to guarantee their future. The benefits of this financial product can offer significant added value to your retirement pension at the end of your working life. See all the pension plans offered by BBVA at bbva.es. There is a wide variety of options to suit each investor, making it easy to find the right one for you.

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