UNISON members will soon be receiving ballot papers about the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) asking them if they want to accept the offer.
It is important as many people as possible vote in the ballot and the closing date is Friday 24 August.
Full details of the LGPS 2014 proposals are available here, but a summary of the key items are below.
- For current scheme members, all pension benefits before 1 April 2014 are protected, and will still be calculated on final pensionable salary on leaving service or retirement.
- From 1 April 2014 move to a ‘career average’ scheme – using all pensionable pay to calculate your pension, increased in line with the Consumer Price Index.
- An improved 1/49 Accrual rate will mean the pension builds up faster each year. This is a significant improvement on the 1/60 rate in the LGPS 2008 scheme.
- Pensionable pay will mean all pensionable earnings and includes non-contractual overtime and additional hours – this is a clear improvement and means more earnings will count towards your pension.
- Employee Contribution rate – 90% of members will pay the same or lower contributions than they do now.
- Only those earning more than £43,001 a year will pay more.
- Most part time workers will pay less in the LGPS 2014, especially low-paid part-time women (who make up a high percentage of UNISON members) because contribution bands will be based on actual pensionable earnings – not the full-time equivalent as now.
- Each member’s normal pension age for pensions built up in LGPS 2014 will be 65 or their state pension age – whichever is higher.
- Contribution Flexibility – If you cannot afford to pay the full contributions, you can opt at any time, after 1 April 2014, to take the 50-50 option – paying half the rate for your contribution band in exchange for half the pension in those years, but with full benefits, such as death in service lump sum and ill health pension protection.
- You can opt back to paying full contributions and earning the full pension rate again at any time.
- The existing Rule of 85 protections will still apply.
- Members aged 55 or over on 1 April 2012 will have your pension compared with what you would have got in the existing scheme and increased if necessary when you retire.
- If you face a compulsory transfer (TUPE) from your public sector employment to a private or voluntary sector employer, you will still be able to remain a member of the Local Government Pension scheme.