As I am sure you will now know, changes to the NHS pensions came into effect on 1 April 2015, with the introduction of the “April 2015 Section”.
The new section has been badged by NHS pensions with the above logo and all communications and literature relating to the April 2015 Section will carry this logo.
All members of the 1995 / 2008 sections (except those with full protection (* - See below) will move into the 2015 Section with effect from either the 1 April 2015 or at the end of their tapered protection date).
1995/2008 section members who were more than 13 years and five months from their normal pension age on the 1 April 2012 will move to the 2015 section on 1 April 2015.
1995/2008 section members who were more than 10 years but less than 13 years and five months from their normal pension age on the 1 April 2012 will move to the 2015 section at the end of your tapered protection date.
A tapered protection calculator can be found under 'related websites'
However, if you were part of choice2 and chose to move your accrued benefits from the 1995 to the to 2008 section you will move to the 2015 section on the 1 April 2015.
(*)Full protection - If you were age 50 or over as at 1 April 2012. (normal pension age is 60 for the 1995 section / 65 for 2008 section).
A special class member age 45 or over as at 1 April 2012 (nursing, midwifery, physio or mental health officer – NPA in 1995 section currently 55)
The above members of the 1995 section have full protection and will not move into the 2015 section when it is introduced in April 2015.
Although parliamentary approval is still to be obtained for the change in scheme regulations, the NHS Business Services Agency (NHS pensions) have issued an overview of the 1995, 2008 and 2015 schemes and this is shown as an appendix to the team brief. It can also be found by clicking the NHS pensions overview link under 'related documents'.
Whilst the detail is still subject to parliamentary approval, the main features of the proposed new arrangement include:
- A career average revalued earnings (CARE) scheme, with benefits based on a proportion of pensionable earnings during your career
- An accrual rate (i.e. the rate that your pension builds up) of 1/54th of each year’s pensionable earnings with no limit on pensionable service. This is a higher accrual rate than both the 1995 and 2008 sections of the NHS scheme
- Revaluation of active members’ benefits in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1.5 percent per annum
A normal pension age at which benefits can be claimed without reduction for early payment is linked to the same age you are entitled to claim your state pension.
April 2015 Scheme and Salary Sacrifice: With the proposed move to a career average as the basis for pension benefit calculation, membership of a salary sacrifice scheme will have an immediate impact upon future pension benefit entitlements. Staff considering joining or already subject to a salary sacrifice scheme need to be mindful to this situation.
How will the scheme changes be communicated?
Once the April 2015 changes have been finalised and Parliamentary Approval received we will provide further information to all staff and managers via a combination of:
• Team brief
• Intranet and HR direct pensions - 2015 scheme pages
• Global e-mail
• “e” Learning and audio casts
• Member way marking and sign posting to the NHS pension website
• April 2015 changes dedicated enquiry mailbox: April2015Changes@sthk.nhs.uk
Where can I get further information?
Further information about the pensions - 2015 Scheme and the arrangements beyond 1 April 2015 can be found by clicking NHS Pensions 2015 Scheme Info under the 'Related Websites'.
Pensions - 2015 scheme videos: NHS pensions have developed a series of videos designed to help members understand the April 2015 Section changes. Watch this video to understand more about the 2015 Section and how it may affect you, they are located under related websites.