Scheme members

12. Time away from work

Information about what happens to your pension benefits if you have time off work due to:

  • sickness
  • child-related leave
  • reserve forces leave
  • industrial action
  • another kind of authorised leave

 

Sick leave

If you have time off work because you're sick or injured, you'll continue to build up pension benefits in the scheme as if you had not been off. Contributions will be deducted from any pay you receive. If your pay is reduced, you will pay less contributions, and if you're on nil pay, you won’t pay any contributions. No matter how much you pay, your pension benefits will continue to build up as if you were at work.

If you’re in the 50/50 section and go onto unpaid sick leave, you'll be moved to the main section of the scheme from the beginning of the next pay period. You'll then build up full pension benefits in the LGPS despite not paying contributions.

If you’re on full or reduced pay and you already have an agreement in place to pay extra into your pension, you can continue to pay these from any pay you receive. You can give notice to stop paying these contracts if you choose. We will credit your account with the amount you have purchased at that date. If you're paying AVCs, you should check directly with your AVC provider any implications of stopping an AVC contract. If you're paying life cover, this may cease if you stop paying contributions.

If you're off sick from work and are on nil pay and were already contributing towards any contracts for extra or lost pension before you went off sick, these will be added to your pension account as if you had continued to pay them. This applies for all types of extra or lost pension contracts in place except for AVCs and part-time buy back contracts (pre 1 April 2014).

 

Parental leave

There are different rules for relevant child related leave and unpaid child related leave. Relevant child related leave includes:

  • Ordinary and additional maternity leave
  • Ordinary and additional adoption leave
  • Paid shared parental leave
  • Paternity leave

If you have time off work due to relevant child-related leave, you'll continue to build up pension benefits in the scheme as if you had not been off. Contributions will be deducted from any pay you receive. If your pay is reduced, you'll pay less contributions, and if you're on nil pay, you won’t pay any contributions. No matter how much you pay, your pension benefits will continue to build up as if you were at work.

If you’re in the 50/50 section and go onto no pay during relevant child-related leave, you'll be moved to the main section of the scheme and will then build up full pension benefits in the LGPS even though your pension contributions have stopped.

For any unpaid extra child-related leave, which includes extra maternity leave, extra adoption leave or extra shared parental leave, you'll not pay contributions and will not build up pension benefits in the scheme.

You're entitled to buy back the pension that you would have built up during this period by paying extra when you return to work. You would do this by paying an APC (Additional Pension Contribution). Your employer will contribute 2/3rds of the cost if you apply within 30 days of returning to work. To find out more about paying towards an APC including how to apply, visit the ‘increasing your benefits’ webpage.

 

Parental bereavement leave

If you take a period of paid parental bereavement leave and your pay is reduced, your pension will be calculated as if you had received your normal pay. If you take any further unpaid authorised leave after this period ends, you can choose to pay an APC to make up for pension lost during the period. Your employer will contribute 2/3rds of the cost if you apply within 30 days of returning to work. Please refer to the ‘increasing your benefits’ webpage for details on how to apply.

If you already have an agreement in place to pay extra into your pension, you can continue to pay contributions from any pay you receive while away from work. Otherwise, you can give notice to stop paying and we will credit your account with the amount you have purchased at that date. If your pay stops and you wish to continue paying these when you return to work, you should discuss this with your employer. If you're paying AVCs, you should check the implications of stopping any AVC contract with your AVC provider. If you're paying life assurance with your AVC provider, this cover may cease if you stop paying contributions. 

 

Calculating your pension on reduced or nil pay (sick leave, relevant child-related leave and parental bereavement leave)

If you're away from work due to sick leave, relevant child related leave or parental bereavement leave, you'll continue to build up pension benefits as if you were receiving full pay in the scheme, even when you're on nil pay. You may be aware that we calculate your pension using your pay information. When your pay is reduced due to one of these reasons, your employer tells us what your pay would have been if you had received your usual pay. This is called assumed pensionable pay, and we use this figure to work out your pension benefits for that period.

 

Strike/industrial action

If you're away from work for a day or more due to a strike, trade dispute or industrial action, you'll not build up membership for that period. You can, however, choose to buy back this period with an APC. Your employer is not obliged to contribute, although they can choose to. Please see the webpage ‘increasing your benefits’ for more details on how to apply.

If you already have an agreement in place to pay extra into your pension, you can continue to pay these from any pay you receive while away from work. Otherwise, you can give notice to stop paying these contributions and we will credit your account with the amount you have purchased at that date. If your pay stops and you wish to continue paying these when you return to work, you should discuss this with your employer.

If you're paying AVCs, you should check the implications of stopping any AVC contract with your AVC provider. If you're paying life assurance with your AVC provider, this cover may cease if you stop paying contributions. 

 

Reserved forces leave

If you go on reserve forces leave, you'll be able to choose if you wish to remain in the LGPS. If you do, your employer will notify you how much the pension contributions will be. You then need to provide this value to the Ministry of Defence so that the correct deductions can be made and paid across to Buckinghamshire Pension Fund. You'll then have the same pension build-up in the scheme as you would have if you had continued in your usual position.

If you decide not to remain the LGPS when you go on reserve forces leave, you'll not build up pension benefits in the scheme for this period.

If you already have an APC agreement in place, you can continue to pay these from your pay. Inform your employer, who will notify you of the amounts to be deducted. If you have a contract for added years (pre 1 April 2008), cohabiting partner pensions (pre 1 April 2008) or ARCs (pre 1 April 2014) in place, and the pay you receive while on reserve forces leave is equal to or higher than your usual pay, you should continue to pay these. If your pay is lower than what you normally pay, your contributions are deemed to have been paid. If you're paying AVCs, you can continue to pay these from any pay you receive.

You should check the implications of stopping any AVC contract with your AVC provider. If you're paying life assurance with your AVC provider, this cover may cease if you stop paying contributions. 

 

Authorised unpaid leave

You won’t build up pension benefits in the scheme while you're away from work on authorised unpaid leave, including jury service and Emergency Voluntary Leave (EVL). You can, however, choose to buy back this period by paying an APC when you return to work. Your employer will contribute 2/3rds of the cost if you apply within 30 days of returning to work. See our webpage ‘increasing your benefits’ for further details and how to apply.

If you already have an agreement in place to pay extra into your pension and you're on unpaid leave, these contributions will stop, and we will credit your account with the amount you have purchased at that date. If you wish to continue paying these when you return to work, you should discuss this directly with your employer.

If you're paying AVCs, you should check the implications of stopping any AVC contract with your AVC provider. If you're paying life assurance with your AVC provider, this cover may cease if you stop paying contributions. 

 

If you were in the scheme before 1 October 2006

You'll have 85-year rule protection if you were in the scheme before 1 October 2006. If you choose not to pay towards an APC to make up for any ‘lost period of service’ this will count as a break in service.

This means it will not be included in the calculation for the 85-year rule and could therefore impact on the date your pre-April 2014 pension benefits are payable without reductions. If you have any queries about this, you should contact us.  

 

Employer discretion

Under the regulations, your employer can choose to extend the 30-day time limit on making an application for a lost pension APC.

If you're outside of this 30-day time limit, you should contact your employer directly to find out what their discretionary policy is and how to apply.

 

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Last updated: 1 April 2021

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