Upcoming pension changes support more flexible working for retired NHS staff

on 28 March 2023 Midwifery Midwives Midwifery Workforce Maternity Services NHS Government MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Pay and Agenda For Change Flexible Working Pensions

Midwives who retire but still want to do some NHS work will benefit from NHS pension scheme rule changes from 1 April 2023.

The changes affect those who have 1995 pension scheme section benefits. From 1 April those who are retired can return to employment and build up further pension benefits in the 2015 Scheme. The only caveat is that there must be a break of 24 hours between retiring and starting the new employment contract.

“This is a quite a game-changer for those who have retired and still want to do some work in the NHS. It is a positive step by the Government and one that will go some way to ease the staffing pressures facing maternity services,” said Lynne Galvin, the RCM’s pensions lead. “It will be a bonus for those who previously may have wanted to come back and still do some work but didn’t because of the lack of ability to continue to grow their 2015 pension benefits.”

There were some who might have been affected by the old rules in another way. This is specifically those who have Special Class Status and take their pension but want to return work before they are 60. ‘Abatement’ is currently suspended but due to come back into force in 2025. It’s the rule that restricts the number of hours you work between 55 and 60 when you have taken your 1995 pension. The RCM has been calling for the abatement rules to be removed completely. This has now happened as part of the non-pay proposals in the recently announced Agenda for Change pay offer for England, negotiated by the RCM and other health unions. See the RCM website for more information on the England pay offer.

More pension scheme rule changes are also in the pipeline. From 1 October 2023, it will be easier to take partial retirement so you can claim your pension and work in a more flexible way without leaving your job. ‘Draw Down’ - taking part of your pension benefits - is already possible for benefits earned in the 2008 Section or 2015 Scheme but will be also applied to those with 1995 section benefits. You don’t need to take a break or change your job and you can continue to build benefits in the 2015 Scheme. You will however need to reduce your pensionable pay by 10% and members must take note of this.

Another change is the date that the 2015 Scheme pensions are revalued to ensure they keep up with inflation. Normally this happens on 1 April each year when the pension is reviewed against the Consumer Price Index inflation rate, with 1.5% above that also added. This will now happen annually on 6 April.

“All in all, these rule changes are taking us in the right direction to help to retain these valuable members of the workforce who are eligible to retire. More flexibility and the ability to continue to build up benefits in the NHS scheme is a positive step forward, says Lynne.

For more information on NHS pensions visit the RCM Pensions Hub at NHS Pensions (rcm.org.uk).

For detailed information on NHS pensions visit NHS Pension Scheme | NHS Employers.

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