Retired civil servants rehired by public bodies will be able to receive their pension at the same time as their new salaries, the Government has proposed. The plan is contrary to the Audit Commission's view that pensions should be suspended until civil servants stopped working. Acting Secretary for Civil Service, Sandra Lee Suk-yee, said differing treatment for retired staff re-hired in the private sector and those returning to the public sector had triggered disputes. 'One can argue 'why should those re-employed by the private sector be entitled to pensions but not those in public bodies?',' she said. Last year, Audit Commissioner Dominic Chan Yin-tat said it could cost more than $170 million if the Government failed to implement its pension proposal about re-appointment to public bodies. Ms Lee said: 'We will justify our proposals from the point of view that a pension is one's earned benefit and right under the law.' As payment lasted until death, another argument was that deferral meant claimants would receive less, Ms Lee said. Subject to consultation and endorsement, the proposed changes will affect a few hundred retired officers re-hired by public bodies. The plans will also cover retired officials still fulfilling government contracts after working for 33 years, the usual service limit.