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Further Guidance

This page contains information that may be useful.

Please click the relevant box below to view common questions, answers and more information



Members

Members can purchase an additional amount of annual pension which is called 'added pension'. This can be done in two ways; by making a one-off lump sum contribution, or by making periodical monthly deductions. Certain rules and limits apply. For more information go to the increasing benefits page.

If you leave the RCPS with less than two years' reckonable service you will not qualify for a deferred pension, however it is important to note that if you leave with more than 3 months' (and less than 2 years' service) your options on leaving would be either:

  1. a refund of your contributions (less tax and less the cost of buying you back into the State Second Pension); or
  2. a transfer to another pension scheme.

The alternative pension option on joining your RCPS employer is setting up a Partnership Pension Account. If you set up a Partnership Pension Account and then leave your RCPS employer, the fund built up is yours either to remain with the provider, to add to, or to transfer somewhere else.

Most RCPS members have the option to 'switch' to the Partnership Pension Account option. Switches are permitted any time during the year.

The two Partnership providers are are Scottish Widows - external link and Standard Life - external link. If you choose the Partnership Pension Account option, you will need to obtain, complete and submit the chosen providers application form to JSS. The effective date of any 'switch' will be dependent on the next available payroll date, following receipt of the application form within JSS.

Once JSS have received the appropriate leaver documentation from your employer (or your employer's agent, for example UK SBS), JSS will write to you to let you know what your options on leaving are. If it is a couple of months since you left and you have not heard from us, please contact us.

If you are a member of the Classic, Classic Plus, Premium or Nuvos schemes, the answer is no. If you have a Partnership Pension Account, your RCPS employer will cease contributing when you leave, although you have the opportunity to make your own arrangements directly with the provider to continue paying your own contributions. Preserved members pension benefits will continue to be increased to reflect the cost of living increases, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Your membership of the RCPS or participation in the Partnership Pension Account should continue. JSS should be informed of your change of employer and we would then write to you to confirm the latest details that we hold. If you have changed employer but not heard from us please contact us.

If you are joining UKRI from a non UKRI employer, your contract will stipulate your on-going pension scheme membership.

Yes, but you can only switch back to the version of the RCPS that you are eligible for. You will need to complete the appropriate Switch form (available from the guides and forms page) and submit it to JSS. The effective date of any 'switch' will be dependent on the next available payroll date, following receipt of the Switch form within JSS.

The government passed a new law under the Pensions Act 2011. Employers are required to automatically enrol eligible workers into a 'qualifying' workplace pension scheme, for more information please read the auto enrolment page.

Benefit Statements are normally sent out during July.

If a member dies whilst in service, the death benefit lump sum is normally two years' pay for Classic and Nuvos members and three years' pay for Classic Plus, Premium and Partnership members. For members who work part time, their actual part time pay is used in the calculation of the death benefit lump sum. For more information go to the death benefit page.

Yes. If you are eligible to set up a Partnership Pension Account, you can elect to not pay any contributions yourself. Your RCPS employer will pay a contribution based on your age and your pay to your Partnership Pension Account.

If you are a new starter and have a Pension Choice form to complete, there is an opportunity to make a nomination for death benefit on the reverse of the Pension Choice form. Otherwise, you would need to complete a nomination for death benefit form, available on the guides and forms page. You need to ensure that you download the correct version of the form for the scheme you are in. The completed form should be returned directly to us. We will then acknowledge receipt of your form.

You should complete a fresh nomination form, downloadable from the guides and forms page, or you may contact us with the revised details.

Yes you can. Please note that we will pay the money to a nomination that is deemed to be valid. Once the money is paid we do not have any further involvement in the death benefit lump sum.

The Nuvos version of the RCPS is a defined benefit scheme based on a career average benefit structure. The current accrual rate is 2.3% of pensionable earnings. A scheme year runs from 1 April to 31 March. For each scheme year, we are advised of your Nuvos pensionable earnings and your pension that has built up is then calculated based on 2.3% of those earnings. Once accrued, the pension is then increased in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Yes, go to the family pensions page for more information.

These can be found on the joining the scheme page.

RCPS employers currently pay 26% of employees earnings to secure their employees' pension benefits in the RCPS. This does not apply to the employer contribution rates for the Partnership Pension Account as these are related to an individual's age.

Time limits and certain restrictions sometimes apply. To start the process, individuals should complete and submit a transfer request form (PDF, 38KB) - opens in new window. Once we have received this form we would then request a transfer quote, upon receipt of which JSS would then calculate and let you know what the transfer would mean to you in terms of your current RCPS membership. At this point you would decide whether you wanted to go ahead or not.

Yes. For the final salary versions of the RCPS (ie Classic, Premium and Classic Plus), the maximum number of years Reckonable Service is 45 years. For the Nuvos version, the maximum pension is restricted to an amount equal to 75% of a member's highest scheme earnings. For more information, refer to page 5 of the Nuvos Scheme Guide (PDF, 265KB) - opens in new window.

Please refer to how your contributions are worked out which details why contributions may vary from one month to the next.

Not normally, but if you have a 'small' pension you may be eligible for trivial commutation. Please read the Trivial Commutation Guide on the scheme guides and forms page for more information.

If you are working for an RCPS employer, we will contact you via your work address and most often your work email.

However, if you change address and your nominee(s) for death benefits have changed address with you, you should let us know your nominees new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the scheme guides and forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

You need to contact us with the new details.

The Earnings Cap for 6 April 2021 - 5 April 2022 is £172,800. This cap applies to most people that joined the Classic, Classic Plus or Premium scheme on or after 1 June 1989. Anyone that exceeds the earnings cap will have their pension benefits (based on pensionable pay) limited to the cap as well as their employee contributions calculated on the salary below the cap, the same applies to employer contributions. The earnings cap does not apply to Nuvos members.

Your scheme pension age depends on what scheme you are in: For Classic, Classic Plus and Premium it is age 60 and for Nuvos it is age 65.

This answer assumes that no added years or added pension are being purchased.

Historically, member pension contributions were set at one either 1.5% or 3.5% dependant on whether a person was a member of the Classic or Non-classic version of the RCPS. Since 2012, member contribution rates increased and some payroll providers split the total contribution according to the old standard rate with the remainder being the obligatory top up percentage.

The Research Councils' Pension Scheme provides for members to give up (allocate) part of their pension (or annual compensation payment) in return for a pension payable on the member's death to:

  • The member's husband, wife or civil partner (at the time the option is made); or
  • The person who is solely or mainly dependent on the member (both at the time the option is made and at the date of the member's death).

The allocation arrangements are additional to the RCPS family benefits arrangements. The allocation option must be made before the pension comes into payment. The amount of pension payable to a beneficiary will be determined by the age and sex of both the member and beneficiary and by the amount of pension allocated. Please note: Members retiring (or retired) on ill health terms cannot allocate.

For more information on allocation, please read the Allocation of Pension (PDF, 137KB) guide, or please email , providing your scheme number or National Insurance number.

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Pensioners

Please contact JSS as soon as possible with the following details: Name of deceased, date of death, name of any surviving spouse, pay/scheme number and the contact details of the next of kin or executor.

Please contact us as soon as possible so that this can be resolved.

Yes. Please let JSS know as soon as possible. Failure to inform JSS of a change of address may result in the temporary suspension of your pension payments.

If your nominee(s) for death benefits have also changed address with you, you should let us know their new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the guides and forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

Please contact us to advise us of the new details.

We need to see an original Power of Attorney or certified copy in order to accept any forms which have been signed on the member's behalf. A Power of Attorney can be set up by the member when they are in good mental health and this course of action can be pursued.

You may wish to contact a solicitor for help in setting up Power of Attorney.

You can download a form from the guides and forms page.

Abatement is the reduction of your pension. This may happen if you partially retire and your part time salary plus pension is more than your full time salary (pre-retirement) or, if you access your pension and are re-employed by an RCPS employer. You may not earn more, by way of re-employed salary and pension than you were earning before you retired.

See abatement guide (PDF, 154KB) - opens in new window - for more information.

JSS take part in the National Fraud Initiative in order to check that we do not make payments to members who have died or are no longer eligible to receive a payment. Taking part in the NFI involves checking our pension records against government data.

The NFI only covers UK residents so if you live outside of the UK we will write to you periodically to confirm your continuing eligibility for your pension. It is important that you do not ignore these letters as your pension may be suspended if we do not hear from you.

HM Revenue & Customs sets a limit on tax relief for pensions known as the Lifetime Allowance (LTA). LTA is the maximum value of pension an individual can take from all pension benefits before they are charged additional tax.

Preserved / deferred members

Yes. Please let JSS know as soon as possible as it is important that JSS are able to maintain contact with you.

If your nominee(s) for death benefits have also changed address with you, you should let us know their new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the guides and forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

Please contact us to advise us of the new details.

Please contact us as soon as possible with the following details: Name of deceased, date of death, name of any surviving spouse, scheme number and the contact details of the next of kin or executor.

General

  • UK Research and Innovation
  • Diamond Light Source
  • Moredun Research Institute
  • UK Shared Business Services
  • Scotland's Rural College
  • The Pirbright Institute
  • Rothamsted Research
  • The Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise
  • Babraham Institute
  • Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd
  • John Innes Centre
  • Earlham Institute

A 'by analogy scheme' is one whose documentation states that they use the rules of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). This link to PCSPS rules means that by-analogy schemes automatically take on board changes that are implemented with regard to the PCSPS rules.

In a Defined Contribution (DC) scheme the contributions you and your employer pay go into a pension fund for you. Most providers have a default fund but they also offer different investment options. The amount you pay in and the return on the investment determines the pension pot of money you build up. The pot can be accessed from age 55 either as: one lump sum; lump sums as and when you need them; or to provide a retirement income (known as an annuity).

In a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme (the RCPS is a DB scheme) the pension you build is based on your salary, an accrual rate and the time that you have been in the scheme. The contributions you make are used to fund the current scheme pensions being paid; when you retire your pension is paid for by the current employee's active in the scheme at that time.

Employers

With effect from 6 April 2003, periods of adoption leave and paternity leave (both normally paid leave) count as both qualifying and reckonable service in the RCPS. There is a distinction between employer scheme contributions and deductions to be taken from the members pay, as follows: Employer contributions and added years contributions should be based on the notional salary the member would have been in receipt of, had they not been on adoption/paternity leave. However, the member's scheme contributions should be based on the actual salary they receive during this period; eg full pay, statutory adoption/paternity pay.

JSS should always be advised when a member commences adoption/paternity leave.

Please refer to the factsheets that are in the public area of the website on the changing working patterns page.

When a member resigns from one organisation which is covered by the Research Councils' Pension Scheme and immediately starts employment with another organisation which is also covered by the Research Councils' Pension Scheme, JSS still require a JSS1 & JSS4 (if appropriate) leaver forms from the first employer and a JSS1 starter form from the second.

However, if both councils are aware that the member is changing employers, and are both covered by the RCPS as above, then this should be clearly indicated on the JSS1 leaver and starter forms. Membership of the Research Councils' Pension Scheme will be deemed as continuous and JSS will inform the new payroll department of the member's correct pension scheme contributions.

This also applies to members transferring between institutes especially if they have different payroll departments.

The compensation in lieu of notice CILON Calculator (Excel, 308KB) - opens in new window is effective from March 2019. It will ask you for the amount of pensionable earnings, allowances and/or bonus to which the individual would have been entitled to had they remained in service during the notice period, and will calculate the loss of pension for the same period giving a total of CILON to be paid through the payroll. National insurance and tax should be deducted in the normal way.

If the notice period goes over the scheme year end (31 March) you should run the calculator separately for the two periods using the appropriate salary and contribution rate for each period.

Please note you should check your contractual terms and conditions and/or seek the necessary approval from your sponsoring department before committing to pay CILON to an employee.

If you decide to make a CILON payment, please request this through your payroll provider. JSS do not instruct payroll or finance agencies to make these payments.

System requirements: The calculator is required to be run on Windows versions of MS Excel 2007 and above. The calculator uses Macros (VBA) for clearing fields, therefore macros should be enabled. You may be presented with an "Enable Content" button when opening the file, please click this to enable content.

New Civil Service Compensation Scheme arrangements came into force from 9 November 2016. The new terms apply to the RCPS members through the 'by-analogy' arrangement that we have with the civil service pension scheme.

The Civil Service Compensation Scheme page - external link - contains information for employers and sets out the precise rules of the CSCS.

Please contact us if you have any specific questions regarding the CSCS.

In the event of a death in service, JSS will require the following:

  • JSS1 leaver for all members
  • JSS4 if the member is in the Classic scheme and single at the time of death, or in the Classic Plus scheme and single on 1 October 2002 and has remained single until the date of death.

Further information that would be useful to JSS is the name and address of next of kin and confirmation of any dependent children.

Benefits payable for a death in service in the Classic scheme

A death benefit lump sum of two times your pensionable earnings (if they are part time this is based on actual pensionable earnings and not the full time equivalent) is payable to their nominee or their estate if there is no Death Benefit Nomination form on file.

If they are married at the time of death their spouse would receive a short term pension based on the members actual pensionable pay. If they have over two years' service their spouse would receive a continuing pension which is usually based on half of the members own pension including enhancement of service under the Ill Health Rules.

If they are single at the time of death a refund of their widow's pension scheme contributions would be payable to their estate for the period of time they were single and a member of the scheme.

Benefits payable for death in service in the Classic Plus scheme

A death benefit lump sum of three times your pensionable earnings (if they are part time this is based on actual pensionable earnings and not the full time equivalent) is payable to their estate if there is no Death Benefit Nomination form on file.

If they have over two years' service and are married at the time of death their spouse would receive continuing pension which is usually based on half of their own pension up to 30 September 2002 and 37.5% of their pension for their service from 1 October 2002.

The Classic Plus scheme may pay a pension to an eligible partner based only on their service from 1 October 2002.

Benefits payable for death in service in the Premium scheme

A death benefit lump sum of three times their pensionable earnings (if they are part time this is based on actual pensionable earnings and not the full time equivalent) is payable to their nominee or their estate if there is no Death Benefit Nomination form on file.

If they have over two years' service and are married or have an eligible partner at the time of death their spouse/partner would receive a pension based on 37.5% of the members pension.

Benefits payable for death in service in the Nuvos scheme

A death benefit lump sum of two times their pensionable earnings (if they are part time this is based on actual pensionable earnings and not the full time equivalent) is payable to their nominee or their estate if there is no Death Benefit Nomination form on file.

If they have over two years' service and are married or have an eligible partner at the time of death their spouse/partner would receive a pension based on 37.5% of the former member's pension.

Benefits payable for death in service in the Partnership scheme

A death benefit lump sum of three times their pensionable earnings (if they are part time this is based on actual pensionable earnings and not the full time equivalent) is payable to their nominee or their estate if there is no Death Benefit Nomination form on file.

Periods of paid Ordinary Maternity Leave, and paid Additional Maternity Leave for which the member receives Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), count as both qualifying and reckonable service in the RCPS.

Contributions - Premium, Classic, Classic Plus and Nuvos

If the member is on Ordinary Maternity Leave or in receipt of SMP, employer scheme contributions should be based on the notional salary the member would have been in receipt of if she had not been on maternity leave. However, the member's scheme contributions should always be based on the actual pay received.

Contributions - Partnership

The normal age-related contribution in respect of partnership members should be continued to be paid whilst the member is on Ordinary Maternity Leave or in receipt of SMP. In addition, during this period the employer should still match the member's gross contributions, up to 3% of the salary they would have been receiving.

Added years

If the member is buying added years, the added years contributions continue during periods of ordinary maternity leave, provided the member continues to receive pay. Where the rate of pay is less than the normal rate (eg Statutory Maternity Pay level), the added years contribution rate is increased proportionally. If the member receives no pay, the added year's contributions cease and the number of added years being purchased are reduced accordingly.

Other information

Periods of unpaid Additional Maternity Leave do not reckon for pension and no contributions are required from the member or the employer. However, if a member on unpaid maternity leave is paid for attendance on a "keeping in touch" day, then this is treated as paid service and is to be treated in the same way as any other paid service.

JSS should always be advised when a member commences maternity leave.

Formal applications for Ill Health Retirement (IHR) may be made either by the individual or by the employer to JSS.

Generally an employer will submit an application for an employee, whereas an individual will apply directly to JSS if they are a Preserved scheme member (i.e. left work but not reached pension age).

Assessments for IHR are carried out for JSS by our Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA); Medigold Health Consultancy Ltd. Medigold are responsible for assessing a scheme members application for ill health retirement against the pension scheme rules. Medigold’s assessment will require access to all health records, consultant reports and GP records. In most cases Medigold can complete an assessment using existing medical reports, but they may also require a face to face assessment.

Please contact a JSS Delivery Manager if you would like to use Medigold Health Consultancy and we will act on your behalf and provide you with the necessary forms to be completed, and advise you of the costs involved.

Further information can be found on the Medigold website - external link -. In exceptional circumstances JSS may allow employers to use an alternative medical advisor or occupational health consultant; please speak to JSS about this.

If the SMA supports the application for Ill Health Retirement; i.e. it is deemed that the individual is prevented from discharging their duties and that the ill health is likely to be permanent; then a JSS1 Leaver form should be sent to JSS. Either the employer or the individual can request an estimates of the ill health retirement benefits at any time.

Ill health retirement criteria for Classic

The criteria for ill health retirement in classic are that an individual is prevented by ill health from discharging his/her duties and that the ill health is likely to be permanent.

Ill health retirement criteria for Classic Plus, Premium and Nuvos

Upper tier: An individual has suffered a permanent breakdown in health and the resulting incapacity prevents them from discharging their own job and of undertaking any other gainful employment.

Lower tier: An individual has suffered a permanent breakdown in health and the resulting incapacity prevents them from discharging their own job or a comparable job.

Serious ill health

If an individual is being retired on medical grounds with a medically assessed life expectancy of less that 12 months, they have the option of taking their ill health retirement pension in a lump sum form.

The following are the types of award to use on the JSS1 Leavers form:

  • Resignation / Preserved / End of contract / Preserved on Secondment
  • Opt Out
  • Partial Retirement
  • Age Retirement
  • Compulsory Redundancy
  • Voluntary Redundancy
  • Voluntary Exit
  • Actuarially Reduced Retirement
  • Ill Health Retirement - (Higher Tier / Lower Tier for Premium or Classic Plus members)
  • Dismissal
  • Death in Service

Compensation under voluntary exit, voluntary redundancy and compulsory redundancy

Compensation Payment: JSS will issue a payment form with the amount involved to the Employer who is asked to pay the Compensation Payment to the Member.

Top up under voluntary redundancy (employers' discretion is used for voluntary exits)

Employees with at least two years' qualifying service and over their minimum pension age will be guaranteed access to their unreduced pension based on their current service only. If they wish to take their unreduced pension, some or all of their compensation payment will be retained by the employer in order to meet the cost of the early payment of the pension. If the compensation payment is more than is required for the total buy out, the employee will receive the remainder of the compensation payment at time of leaving. If the compensation payment is not enough to buy out the reduction, the employer will need to top up the payment to cover the full cost.

Approved early retirement(AER)

Pension: The employer meets the cost of the pension until the member reaches age 60.

Pension Lump Sum: At the time of leaving, the pension scheme pays the Member the pension lump sum and then reclaims this amount by invoicing the Employer. When the member reaches age 60, the pension scheme repays the pension lump sum to the employer, this will have been increased by the annual Pension Increase (PI) from the date of leaving.

Age retirement / partial retirement / actuarially reduced retirement (ARR) / ill health

The pension scheme is responsible for all the costs.

Classic scheme

Classic members can accrue a maximum 45 years' service. If a member achieves 45 years' service before retirement, contributions to the scheme continue and are refunded shortly after leaving.

Classic Plus and Premium scheme

Members are limited to a total of 45 years' service. Contributions stop when 45 years' service is achieved.

Periodical contributions for added years should normally be suspended when a member receives sick pay at half rate or sick pay at pension rate (SPPR).

However, employing departments must give members the option to continue paying the same contributions when they receive the lower rate of pay.

Members who wish to continue paying periodical contributions must pay an increased percentage rate in order to pay the same cash amount subject to the 15% contributions limit. JSS will provide necessary information on request, preferably before the member goes on reduced sick pay.

The amount of added years being purchased by members who do not opt to continue to pay periodical contributions while they are on reduced pay will be less than the amount they originally opted to buy. JSS must be informed of these members so that adjustments can be made.

Classic only members who started buying added years by periodical contributions on or after 21 August 1984 and subsequently leave on medical retirement are normally credited with the full amount of added years they were buying, reduced to take account of any periods where contributions were not paid in full. However, where medical retirement takes place after 22 July 2002, any period on sick leave immediately preceding medical retirement during which the member received no pay or pay at pension rate, the sick leave is treated as if added years contributions were paid in full. In such cases, where the members opted to continue paying contributions whilst on sick leave at pension rate, those contributions will be treated as an overpayment and must be refunded.

If an individual, who is eligible to be in the Nuvos scheme, indicates from the outset that they do not want to be in the Research Councils' Pension Scheme, please do not action their request until the member has completed an Opt Out form, which they can find on the auto enrolment page.

Opt out general procedures

Once the Opt Out form has been received and actioned, please forward a copy immediately to JSS. As soon as JSS receive the completed Opt Out form we will write to the member to confirm their opt out has been processed.

For information

Generally, if an individual opts out within their first three months of joining, their opt out decision is backdated to their scheme start date. If the individual opts out after the three months, then their opt out decision will be treated the same way as a leaver.

As a result of auto enrolment, all staff are automatically entered into the Nuvos Pension Scheme, unless they are students, Marie Curie Fellows or contractors. Employees not currently eligible to join the Research Councils' Pension Scheme (RCPS) but who meet the legislation definition of an 'eligible worker' should be placed in the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), which is a workplace pension scheme set up by the Government. Entry to NEST is not administered by JSS.

When the new starter commences work, HR needs to complete and submit a JSS 1 STARTER form to JSS. For audit and data protection purposes JSS should not receive new starter notifications for employees not eligible to join the RCPS.

When JSS receive the new starter form, we will write and issue a Pension Questionnaire and Pension Choices form to the new starter and they should complete and return them to JSS. When JSS receive the Questionnaire, we will check an individual's pension history to see if the member is eligible to maintain membership of a previous pension scheme; in this event, JSS will advise HR accordingly. JSS will also check for any Re-employment cases (ie where there may be an impact of repaying Compensation or, in the event that a member is already in receipt of a pension, any abatement issues).

If a new starter indicates that they wish to opt out from pension scheme membership, you must advise them that scheme membership is automatic and still submit a JSS1 STARTER form. The member will need to complete an Opt Out form and send it to HR, who will instruct payroll to cease contributions and send a copy of the completed form to JSS. JSS will then write to the member. This is to ensure they receive proper scheme literature which fulfils our duty of care and enables them to make an informed choice to opt out. As scheme membership is automatic, you must advise payroll to commence deductions from salary until the member sends the Opt Out form.

When a new starter chooses to set up a Partnership Pension Account, they must complete a Pension Choices form and also an application form (to be obtained by the member from the preferred provider) and send these to JSS. These forms must be returned to JSS within three months of their start date. Their decision to set up a Partnership Pension Account should then be backdated to their start date. In this circumstance, unscrambling action by payroll sections may be required in respect of any pay history. The unscrambling action is detailed in EPN 8.

If the Partnership Pension Account application / forms are returned to JSS after the three month deadline, then the decision to set up the Partnership Pension Account will be effective from the following 1 April or 1 October, and the individual's decision will then be treated as a switch.

JSS will determine whichever applies and will inform payroll / personnel.

Pensionable pay/allowances should always be supplied for the period worked, as opposed to the period paid. JSS holds lists of pensionable allowances supplied by each employer and we can only accept those allowances.

For members of the Classic pension scheme, JSS require pensionable pay and allowances for the three years prior to their last day of service. For members of the Classic Plus and Premium schemes, again JSS require pensionable pay details for the three years prior to their last day of service; in some circumstances we may request details of pensionable pay and allowances for a period of up to 13 years from the last day of service. This information ideally should be supplied in tax years and relates to the period in which pay/allowances was worked, not paid. For part timers we require the full time equivalent.

For most of the above, members' final pensionable pay is based on the last 12 months pay and we use the actual 12 months, so if a member has a period of non-reckonable service, then that period is excluded from the calculation. For example, a full 12 months would be 365 days, for a member who had five days non-reckonable service the final pensionable pay would be based on 360 days service. It would be highly unlikely for a step-back to the last full tax year to provide a higher figure. If the member had a fairly lengthy period of non-reckonable service then the opposite would apply and personnel / payroll should complete a JSS1A form with any leavers' papers.

When a member takes unpaid leave, personnel will need to inform by completion of a JSS N/R form. If an member is on long term unpaid leave, a JSS N/R form will need to be completed at the beginning and at the end of the absence. Examples of types of unpaid leave - although not an exhaustive list - includes: unpaid maternity leave, unpaid adoption leave, unpaid study leave, unpaid paternity leave, unpaid parental leave and sick leave with no pay.

Effect on pensionable final earnings

In the Premium or Classic Plus scheme, the calculation of a member's Pensionable Final Earnings (PFE), used in the members pension calculation, may be adversely effected by any unpaid leave taken. This arises when unpaid leave is taken during the members PFE period (normally their final 12 months of service). Members of the Premium or Classic Plus versions are unlikely to be aware of this; therefore, this is something that personnel groups should bring to the member attention when they apply for unpaid leave.

For your information, and by way of a comparison, this is in contrast to the calculation of Pensionable Pay in the Classic scheme, whereby if unpaid leave has been taken, a members Pensionable Pay period is extended so that a full 365 day paid period forms their Pensionable Pay period.

Please read the partial retirement page on the website, as this also has information relating to abatement.

You should contact JSS if you have an employee considering re-employment, even if re-employment is not within 28 days of former leaving date. If re-employment is within 28 days, compulsory or voluntary redundancy awards must be cancelled. In addition, redundancy compensation payments must be repaid, however exceptions may apply as every case is different.

Age retirement

  • No claw back of pension lump sum.
  • Pension subject to abatement.

Early retirement following redundancy

  • Lump sum compensation payment subject to claw back within the lesser of the compensation payment and six months. Where the employer has topped up the compensation payment to meet the total cost of the actuarial reduction, the notional period of the compensation payment for re-employment purposes will be the amount originally awarded to the member (ie not the total cost of the buy out).
  • Annual Compensation Payment (ACP) / Pension subject to abatement.
  • Where benefits have been repackaged, with a proportion of the ACP surrendered in exchange for additional lump sum, salary may be subject to abatement in place of capitalised ACP.
  • If re-employed after retiring age, pension will be subject to abatement.

Voluntary exit, voluntary redundancy or compulsory redundancy

  • Lump sum compensation payment subject to claw back within the lesser of the notional period of the compensation payment and six months.
  • If re-employed after retiring age, pension will be subject to abatement.

Compulsory early severance: reserved rights to pre-1987 terms

  • Salary subject to abatement, up to the level of ACP which would otherwise have been in payment.
  • If re-employed after retiring age, pension will be subject to abatement.

TheEmployer Pension Notice 152 (EPN152) (PDF, 58KB) - opens in new window - explains the salary sacrifice scheme. It is taken from Employee Pension Guide Chapter 5, which is written by the Civil Service; as we are an by-analogy scheme, the same procedures apply to the RCPS. We have therefore not rewritten this notice but ask you to read RCPS where it refers to PCSPS.

There are four options for a member who goes on secondment:

  1. They can freeze their service and resume contributions when they return, the period they are away would be non-reckonable.
  2. The council can pay the employer and employee contributions for the period of secondment to secure their service within the RCPS, any arrangements the council has for recompense is for the council to agree, neither the member nor the new employer can pay the contributions direct to the RCPS. JSS will invoice the council for the contributions on a six monthly basis.
  3. The member could request to transfer their benefits from the RCPS to their new scheme, this would mean they would have to leave the RCPS and on their return transfer the benefits back. JSS would need to be informed if this option was chosen.
  4. Another option is to join the new employers' scheme, if appropriate, and to transfer this into the RCPS on their return, any shortfall in the reckonable service can be made by buying Added Pension. Alternatively, they could contribute towards Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

JSS will need to know the agreed period for secondment.

Members who are being retired on grounds of ill health with a medically assessed life expectancy of less than 12 months can take their ill health retirement pension as a lump sum in accordance with the calculation in paragraph 2 below. Family benefits are not affected.

Commutation under these arrangements is as follows:

  1. The ill health retirement award is calculated in the normal way, including any lump sum payable (Classic & Classic Plus).
  2. A further lump sum is calculated at 5 x annual rate of ill health pension, less any ill health lump sum applicable at (A) above, less the annual rate of the GMP (if the member has one).
    The lump sums at (A) and (B) above are put into payment.
  3. A pension equivalent to the annual rate of the GMP is also put into payment (this will not apply in the case of those who do not have a GMP).
  4. Contingent widows'/widowers' or partners' benefits are calculated in the normal way if, on the death of the member, an increased or short-term widow's/widower's pension is put into payment, and for all other purposes the rate of the member's pension before commutation will be used.
  5. Once the above benefits have been put into payment, the pension scheme will, with the exception of any continuing pension at the level of the GMP or family benefits following the member's death, have discharged its responsibilities in respect of his or her pre-retirement service. No further payments will be made by the Scheme in respect of such service. We must make this clear to any members contemplating commutation in this way. Individuals should be advised to seek independent financial advice before committing themselves. It should also be pointed out that a decision on whether or not to opt for commutation is one for them to take. The pension scheme accepts no responsibility in this respect.

Note:

The tax position of the commuted lump sum is as follows:

  • where only part of the ill health pension is commuted (this will occur in the majority of cases) there is no tax charge;
  • where the whole of the ill health pension is commuted (eg where an individual has no GMP) the amount of the commutation lump sum that exceeds the maximum tax-free lump sum which the member would have received, had he or she remained in service until the retiring age, is taxable at 20%.

This is obviously a sensitive area and personnel and welfare officers should be made aware of the facility, so that they can explain it to those to whom it might apply. Applications (in writing) for this kind of commutation should come from members themselves, supported by written confirmation by their GP or specialist of their short life expectancy. It is for us to satisfy ourselves that the medical criterion is met in individual cases.

The period a member is paid Sick Pay at Pension Rate (SPPR) is classed as a non-reckonable absence for pension purposes and a JSS N/R form should be completed. Although JSS will have advised what the SPPR figure should be (following a request for this information), JSS will not know that a decision to pay the member SPPR has been taken until a JSS N/R form has been received.

Members may switch once in either direction between pension arrangements; ie Premium/Nuvos pension scheme and Partnership pension account.

Switching can only be effected from 1 April or 1 October within the calendar year and may be subject to up to three months' notice, as required by individual payroll sections.

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