Absence and Pension Contributions
There are many reasons for absence from your employment such as child related leave, strike breaks and unpaid leave.
Paying Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) either regularly over a number of complete years, or as a one-off lump sum will allow you to make up the lost pension from these periods of absence.
The amount of pension lost is calculated at the appropriate fraction of your assumed pensionable pay for that period of absence (i.e. 1/49th of your assumed pensionable pay if you were in the main section of the scheme or 1/98th if you were in the 50/50 section).
To find out the cost of paying Additional Pension Contributions (APCs), an online calculator is available on the national LGPS website to show how much it would cost you to purchase the ‘lost’ pension follow the below link to view the calculator.
Child Related/Authorised Leave
During any period of paid maternity or paternity leave (including any period when only statutory maternity or paternity pay is paid) or paid adoption leave (including any period when only statutory adoption pay is paid) or any unpaid maternity or adoption leave, the 26 week ordinary maternity leave/ordinary adoption leave period, your LGPS benefits will continue to build up as if you were working normally on full pay. Pension contributions are due on the actual pay, if any, you are receiving.
Any period of unpaid maternity or adoption leave beyond the 26 week ordinary maternity/ adoption leave period and any period of unpaid paternity leave will not count for pension purposes unless you have a right to return to work, in which case you can choose to pay back the pension contributions for the unpaid period to make it count.
The cost of paying back is based on the last rate of pay you received ignoring any increase in pay due to working a ‘keep in touch’ day.
If you wish to purchase the amount of lost pension for a period of child related or authorised leave, and make the election within 30 days of returning to work, then the cost of the APC is split between yourself and your employer. You will pay one-third of the cost and your employer will pay the rest. This is known as a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC). You can pay these additional contributions in a one-off lump sum or through regular payments from your wages.
The maximum period of absence you can elect to buy back by a SCAPC is a period of 3 years.
If you wish to cover any pension lost as a result of strike action, it is possible to do so via Additional Pension Contributions (APCs). The online calculator can calculate the cost for you, although the calculator does require you to provide a figure of the pay lost to see how much you will need to pay to cover the strike absence. This means that you will need to contact your employer to find out the amount of pay lost as a result of strike action in order to use the calculator to calculate the cost. If you wish to cover the absence, the form is held within the calculator for you to complete and the completed copies will be sent to yourself and to the Pensions Team. The election to purchase an APC to cover a period of lost pension through strike action can be made at any point whilst an active member of the LGPS.
Additional Pension Contributions Calculator (this link will redirect you to the national LGPS member website)