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Pension Scheme

Pension Scheme

The NHS Pension Scheme is available to nearly all employees of the NHS. The Scheme has three sections/schemes known as the 1995 section, the 2008 section and the 2015 Scheme. Which section/scheme you fall in depends on when you joined (or re-joined) the scheme and what age you are.

The 2015 scheme is for new members to the NHS scheme from 1 April 2015 and many staff who have 1995 or 2008 section benefits but have been compulsorily moved over to the 2015 Scheme. Those with no choice but to now be part of the 2015 Scheme will have their 1995 or 2008 section benefits preserved as part of their former final salary scheme.

 

Contributions

The contribution rate paid is dependent on your pensionable salary level i.e. basic pay plus enhancements earned for working unsocial hours and on call payments. The present contribution table is:

Pensionable Salary

Contribution Percentage

Up to £15,431.99

5.0%

£15,432.00 to £21,477.99

5.6%

£21,478.00 to £26,823.99

7.1%

£26,824.00 to £49,472.99

9.3%

£49,473.00 to £70,630.99

12.5%

£70,631.00 to £111,376.99

13.5%

£111,377.00 and over

14.5%

 

Pension contributions attract tax relief at your personal marginal rate of tax i.e. 0%, 20%, 40% or 45% as appropriate.

All salary levels are the full time rate and therefore it is pro rata for part time staff.

The Trust as the employer makes a contribution of 14.3% for all employees in the scheme. Not all salary payments attract pension contributions (e.g. overtime worked above full time hours).

If your salary is reduced through no fault of your own e.g. downgrading, redeployment due to ill health, then although your contributions are reduced accordingly, your pension benefits accrued to the date of change are protected on the higher rate. To affect this, staff should write to the Pension office confirming their position within 3 months of the change.

If you voluntarily go down a pay band and are over 50, contact the pensions office to see if your pension is eligible for protection.

 

Basic Retirement Benefits

1995/2008 Section

Benefits from a final salary section are dependent on your whole time earnings level (if you are part time then it is a notional whole time equivalent) at the time of retirement and the number of years’ service (if part time then again the whole time equivalent). For each whole time year of reckonable service you receive a proportion of your final year’s salary (or notional full time rate) as an annual pension for the rest of your life. This is:

Members of the 1995 section – 1/80th for each year of service plus three times that amount as a tax free lump sum.

Members of the 2008 section – 1/60th for each year of service.

2015 Scheme

The 2015 scheme is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme. With such a scheme the pension benefit obtained is determined in each year that you are a member of the scheme. With a scheme based on a 1/54th basis, pension earned in each year is your pensionable salary divided by 54. On retirement the resulting value for that year is revalued for inflation to your retirement date. The revaluation is based on CPI plus 1.5%. This is done for each separate year that you are a member of the career average scheme.

All NHS scheme benefits are guaranteed, there is no investment of contributions that could lead to you pension fund being eroded. The minimum retirement age, unless you leave under an early retirement scheme, is:

Membership of the 1995 section – 60 (55 for those with protected special class status).

Membership of the 2008 section – 65

Membership of the 2015 scheme – equal to your state pension age.

A lump sum may be created or increased further (subject to a maximum) by giving up some of the annual pension in the ratio of £1 of annual pension buying £12 of lump sum.

 

Salary Sacrifice Schemes

If you enter into a salary sacrifice agreement, you are reducing your pay level that is used to determine your pension contributions. Whilst this will save you money on pension contributions, it may also affect your pension benefits. Whilst you are part of a final salary scheme, if your salary sacrifice agreement ends before the period used to determine your final salary for pension purposes, your pension will not be affected.

YOU need to remember that if you leave employment suddenly and earlier than originally expected, your pension may well be affected. With the 2015 scheme based on “career average”, any salary sacrifice scheme will affect your pension.

 

More Pensions Information

A general scheme guide is provided to all new employees. See the 2015 guide here and one for the 1995 /2008 a section members here. You can access to the main page of the Pension’s Agency website here.

 

Contact details

From 1 April 2015 the Trust Pension’s service will be provided by an external provider Equiniti ICS. To contact them email, nhspensions@equiniti-ics.com, identify your assignment number and that you work for Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

Telephone: 02890 567 312 (this is a UK number)

Postal address: FAO Pensions Officer, Equiniti ICS, 205 Airport Road West, Belfast, BT3 9ED.

 

All members of the Pension scheme may contact the NHS Pensions Agency direct. Their address is:

NHS Pensions Agency, Hesketh House, 200-220 Broadway, Fleetwood, Lancashire, FY7 8LG.

The member helpline number is 0300 330 1346. (Please quote your national insurance number in any means of communication to them. You will find you NI number on your payslip).