The Government of the Virgin Islands wants each of its retirees to have a long and comfortable retirement. This requires planning. Therefore, we have compiled the following information to help employees plan for their retirement.

Planning for Retirement: When will you retire?

The first consideration when planning for retirement is to decide when you would like to retire. The Government of the Virgin Islands’ retirement age is 60, although retirement is allowed under special circumstances after age 55. Retirement is also allowed on medical grounds, on the abolition of your post, on termination of service in the public interest, or after 25 years of service. There are also instances of compulsory retirement.

You must give 12 months notice to the Department of Human Resources before you can retire, although in some cases six months notice is accepted.

Based on the nature of your job and the Government’s need for your services, you may be rehired on a contractual or temporary basis following your retirement.

The Department of Human Resources, together with the Training Division, offers an annual workshop to help you prepare for retirement. All employees are encouraged to sign up for this workshop at least five years before they plan to retire, if not before. Contact the Training Division or check its annual Training Calendar to find out when the next retirement workshop will be held.

Planning for Retirement: How much income will you have?

It is critical that you make financial plans for your retirement. Planning will help you maintain the standard of living to which you are accustomed. Most Government retirees have three main sources of income or financial support: their pension, their social security benefit, and any savings they may have.


Estimate your pension and/or gratuity with our pension calculator.

The Government pays a pension to all permanent and pensionable retirees who have served at least 25 years of service. Permanent and Pensionable retirees can opt to be paid either a full pension with no gratuity or a reduced pension and a lump sum gratuity.

Pensions are calculated using a formula that includes your length of service and your last salary. The following chart will give you an idea of the amount of pension you can expect at various salary levels and years of service:

Last monthly salaryYears
of Service
Full pension (monthly)Reduced pension (monthly) / Gratuity
$2,00025$1,000$750 / $37,500
$2,00033$1,320$990 / $49,500
$3,00025$1,500$1,125 / $56,250
$3,00033$1,980$1,485 / $74,250
$4,00025$2,000$1,500 / $75,000
$4,00033$2,640$1,980 / $99,000

A daily paid worker with between 7 and 15 years of service will receive a lump-sum gratuity equal to two weeks pay for each complete year of service.

A daily paid or non-established worker with 15 or more years of service will receive a gratuity equal to two weeks pay for each year of service up to 15, and four weeks pay for each year of service over 15 years, up to a maximum of 1.25 times your last yearly salary. In some cases, daily paid workers may opt for a monthly allowance instead of the lump-sum payment.

The information on this website is general only. Call or visit the Human Resources Department Benefits Administration Unit at 494-3701 ext. 2178 to find out exactly what your pension benefits will be.

Social Security

When you are making your financial plans for retirement, take time to determine whether you will be eligible for an age grant or pension from the Social Security Board. While Social Security´s age benefits are generally less than the pensions paid by Government, they can still play an important role in your finances.

An age benefit is paid to insured persons who reach the age of 65 and satisfy the necessary contribution conditions.

An age grant is paid to insured persons who are 65 years old and have made at least 50 but less than 500 weeks of contributions. The grant is equal to six times your average weekly insurable earnings, multiplied by the number of completed 50 weeks of contributions.

An age pension is paid to insured persons who are 65 years of age and have made at least 500 weeks of contributions. The pension is equal to 30 percent of the average annual insurable earnings, plus an additional 1 percent for each 50 contributions in excess of 500.

Please note that at present, the maximum level of earnings insured by Social Security is $23,400 per annum. Social security age benefits are not retirement benefits; you may continue to work. No social security contributions are deducted from the salary of persons who are over 65.

For more information about your Social Security age benefits, visit the Social Security Board´s website at, or call 284/494-3418.

Personal savings

You should not rely solely on Government pension and Social Security age benefits to finance your retirement. Personal savings will allow you to weather unexpected events and expenses without loosing your financial independence.

The key to successfully saving for retirement is to start, and to start as soon as possible. The earlier you begin saving for your retirement, the less you will have to put aside every month and the longer your money will have to grow. Many financial planners recommend saving 10 percent of your monthly income. Some of this savings can be for short-term goals, but some should be for long-term goals like retirement.

For help starting a personal savings plan, speak to a financial advisor or visit one of these helpful websites:

Public radio´s Motley Fool radio show provides advice on investing for retirement at
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has comprehensive information about pensions and retirement at

Planning for Retirement: Social and emotional changes

Going into retirement is almost like starting a new job. As a result, some adapting and adjusting will be necessary. Some days may bring feelings of uncertainty, which may result in mood swings. You may also experience “high and low” periods. The initial reaction to becoming unemployed can last from as little as a few minutes to as long as many weeks. These feelings may have an emotional effect similar to that of losing a close relative or friend; or you may experience feelings similar to those associated with the long awaited return of someone or something of great importance. Retirement affects each person differently, but it does affect everyone going through this transition. Regardless of the emotion, it may take some time for you or other persons close to you to adjust to your new situation.

Taking back control of your life is something that you will have to do eventually, and you will have to put some work into it. It will be much more difficult if you are still in the shock or depression state, though not impossible.

An officer within the Employee Relations Unit will be happy to meet with you to assist you with the decision making process as you prepare to move into private life. Contact us at 494-3701 ext. 2178. You may also receive guidance on subjects such as:

• Coping with the loss of income from your job
• Health care inforation
• Volunteer work
• Community social services and action programmes
• Part-time/full-time continuing education
• Part-time employment
• Basic financial management guidance

As you prepare for retirement, it is helpful to consider the following questions:

What will you do with your time?
• New career or job
• Volunteer work
• Travelling

Where will you live?

• Present residence
• New residence
• New country

Are your legal matters in order?
• Will
• Spousal/child support

Are your financial matters in order?
• Benefits (pension and social security)
• Personal savings
• Life insurance

How is your health?

• Specific illnesses
• Medical insurance
• Regular check-ups

The following agencies and organisations provide services you may wish to access in your retirement:

Social Security Board
Social Development Department
Adina Donovan Home
BVI Red Cross
Community Health Services
Department of Labour
Library Services
Tortola Sports Club 494-3418
494-3701 ext. 2168
494-3701 ext. 4708

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