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Pensions

UNISON works to defend good pension schemes and improve and promote affordable, decent pensions for all our members, wherever you work.

If you’ve a pension question/problem please e-mail UNISON’s Pensions Unit for Members at P165876@unison.co.uk quoting your UNISON membership number and copying in your local UNISON Branch.

McCloud Consultation Update for Public Service Pension Schemes

The government has now issued consultations setting out the long-awaited proposals to correct the unlawful discrimination on the grounds of age. This was caused by the terms of the transitional protection that was brought in for members of public service pension schemes when the new CARE schemes came into force on 2014 or 2015. The transitional protection applied to members in service at 1 April 2012 who were within 10 years of their normal retirement age at that date.

The proposed method to correct and remedy the discrimination in the draft proposals are much as expected. It is proposed that the transitional protections be extended to all members in service at 1 April 2012 regardless of age.

The transitional protections only apply to benefits earned after the date the new schemes started i.e. after 2014/2015.

For unfunded public service schemes like the NHS Pension Scheme and the Civil Service Pension schemes it is from April 2015. The proposed remedy is to allow members to be put back in their pre 2015 final salary scheme that will have a lower normal retirement age.

For the LGPS every member was moved to the new CARE scheme from April 2014 for LGPS England and Wales and April 2015 for LGPS Scotland and LGPS Northern Ireland.

The transitional protection is an underpin, that means the benefits of the post April 2014/15 CARE scheme are compared with the benefits the member would have earned if they had stayed in the final salary scheme and if it would have been higher the pension is increased.

Many members of public service schemes despite the higher retirement ages will be better off in the post 2014/15 CARE schemes at the point they leave or retire.

A member will only know whether they would be better off as a result of moving back to the final salary scheme or, if in the LGPS, whether the underpin will increase benefits when they retire, reach age 65 or leave service.

The Consultation proposes to end all transitional protection from April 2022. So, for service after that date members will return to the post 2015 CARE schemes and the LGPS underpin will not apply for service after that date. The maximum period of service by the proposed remedy would be from 2014/15 to 2022.

The consultation on unfunded schemes closes on 11 October and the consultation on LGPS England and Wales closes 8 October. Consultations on LGPS Scotland and LGPS Northern Ireland are expected to start soon.

The link to the consultations that have been published are:

The Unfunded Schemes

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/public-service-pension-schemes-consultation-changes-to-the-transitional-arrangements-to-the-2015-schemes.

The LGPS England and Wales

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/local-government-pension-scheme-amendments-to-the-statutory-underpin

UNISON will be sending in a central response to the consultations. It is important to note they are draft proposals and may change as a result of the consultation.

UNISON will provide further updates taking on board comments and after considering the detail of the consultation, over the next couple of months.

Please contact UNISON’s Pensions Unit for Members via your local UNISON branch with any queries.

Pension Training Courses

UNISON’s Pensions Unit for Members have developed the following training courses that we can potentially undertake on request from Branches/Regions:

  • Introduction to Pensions
  • Getting to Grips with the NHS Pension Scheme
  • An Introduction to the Local Government Pension Scheme
  • Women and Pensions

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Local Government Pension Scheme

The Local Government Pension Scheme is collectively the largest public sector pension scheme in the UK with 4.6 million members and is available to any employee under the age of 75 working for an employer participating under the scheme.

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NHS Pension Scheme

The NHS Pension Scheme is a voluntary pension scheme available to all NHS employees. Benefits are paid in addition to the basic state pension. From 1 April 2015 a new NHS Pension Scheme will come into operation.

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Occupational pensions and auto-enrolment

There are a wide range of pensions available so its important you understand your options in order to get the best deal for your retirement. If you feel you are not getting the right advice from your employer, speak to your local UNISON rep.

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Pensions governance

Pensions governance refers to the way pensions are invested and managed and includes such issues as how funds are invested, the composition of investments, decision making processes, socially responsible investment and ensuring sufficient assets exist to meet pension liabilities as they fall due.

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Retirement and the state pension

The state pension is changing from 6 April 2016 which if you’re under State Pension Age, should lead to you building up a bigger state pension. This comes at a cost though. Read on for more information on state pensions.

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Women and pensions

Advice for women on what they can do to get a decent income on retirement as well other pensions issues that relate particularly to women.

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Resources