NHS Pensions consultation - The RCM Position
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is asking the government to let members decide, when they retire, which pension scheme is the most beneficial for them for their contributions between 2015 and 2022. The government consultation which closed on 11 October was to seek opinion across public sector pension schemes. Lynne Galvin, the RCM’s pension representative said: “The Government have to correct the discrimination that came from giving members of the pension scheme protection to remain in their existing, legacy schemes when a new, reformed scheme, was introduced in 2015.”
If you were not within 10 years of your normal retirement age on the 1st April 2012 you were automatically moved into the reformed NHS pension scheme in April of 2015. The pension you had already built up was frozen and those benefits protected, but from 2015 the reformed scheme rules applied to you. Some members of the scheme who were within 14 years of retirement in April 2012 had a tapered protection which by 2022 will have ceased.”
The RCM wants affected members to be able to make a final choice about their pension for those years, at retirement because we see this as the fairest approach. Pension benefits can be affected by a number of career changes such as career progression, hours of work and age of retirement. Many career changes cannot be known or predicted early in a career.
“For these reasons we see the choice being deferred to the time of retirement as the only fair way to decide”, said Lynne Galvin. Just over a fifth of RCM members are in their 50s and are therefore likely to have received either full or tapered protection. Support and advice for scheme members in this group should be a priority to ensure they are able to plan appropriately for their retirement.
The 2015 scheme in itself was not found to be discriminatory, and because of that, the Government have indicated they will still move all pension scheme members into it in April 2022. So, the choice to remain in the legacy scheme applies only to the 7 years between 2015 and 2022.
“The choice you make will be different depending on your work history” says Lynne Galvin. “What the RCM wants to see is that at retirement everyone affected by this can decide which scheme you would have been better off contributing to. Your contributions before 2015 will not be affected. After 2022 you will be in the new scheme, but those transition years could be important to your pension and you should have the choice about them” she added.
The RCM is urging you to look at your own pension so you know exactly what situation you are in and how this may affect you. You can access your Total Reward statement via your Trust ESR system, and you can get information about the different pension schemes at on the NHS Business Services Authority website here.
The Government’s response to the consultation is expected to be announced early in 2021.
For more detailed information on the RCM’s position on this see an earlier RCM blog here.