Absences and the pension scheme | Oxfordshire County Council

Absences and the pension scheme

How an absence without pay can affect your pension.

There are many different reasons for absences and an absence without pay can have an effect on a member's pension.

In the LGPS 2014, a period without pay will mean a pension is reduced. Some types of unpaid leave (as a result of certified sick leave) require employers to maintain the level of pension being built up, and other types of unpaid leave require the member to take steps to restore the pension.  For example, authorised/ approved unpaid leave including unpaid child related leave.

For LGPS 2014 it is the employer’s responsibility to advise the member about the lost pay following an unpaid period. The following notes  do not cover unpaid sick leave or leave for reserve forces.

The main procedure points for employers

Visit the pensions forms for employers page for template letters for you to personalise and use.

This simplified summary shows the main stages to enable a person to buy back 'lost pension' after a period of approved unpaid leave. But do remember every employer should have:

  • a policy concerning how to deal with requests to extend member’s 30 day option period when employer required to assist with costs
  • a written published statement on approach to shared cost  additional pension contributions

Agree period of unpaid leave with your employee

  • A period of approved no pay will affect an employee's pension.
  • Employers should tell employees about their options.
  • Complete MARS to show start date of approved unpaid leave.

Return to work

  • Inform your employee of their 'lost pay' for the period.
  • Use the template letter to give employee enough information to find out the cost to buy back the 'lost' pension. Member uses interactive tools on www.lgpsmember.org for quote and application.
  • Complete MARS with return to work date.

Member's choice; time limits and employer action

  • If member wants to buy 'lost pension' they must send you and OCCPF each a copy of the completed application.
  • If election is within 30 days of return to work, or such longer period as the employer may allow, employer must pay 2/3rds cost (shared cost additional pension contribution SCAPC).
  • Employer and OCCPF must agree employee's request is eligible.
  • If the employee requests to pay instalments, they will need medical clearance.
  • Application for instalments of under £5 per month are not acceptable by this fund.
  • Set up deductions, complete MARS and contribution return.

What if the employee misses the 30 day time limit?

Will the employer consider extending the 30 day limit, introduced by amending regulations April 2015?

  • Member can still buy the 'lost pension' but without employer's contribution.
  • Member returns to www.lgpsmember.org for new quote for additional pension contribution (APC).
  • Employer may consider supporting employee costs to restore lost pension using their Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution  policy (SCAPC).

Additional pension

If the member wants to buy an additional pension, use the process above although subject to your written policy, you would not be contributing.

Shared cost additional pension contribution (SCAPC) and elections

There will be liaison with Pension Services and the Investment teams at OCCPF in the process for a shared cost additional pension contribution. Elections made in eligible cases within the regulatory timetable must be shared cost.

Supporting your employees

Please be prepared to help your employee to get the quote and application from the national website www.lgpsmember.org or encourage them to contact Pension Services.

The forms for employers page includes a templates for you to use.

Last reviewed
23 February 2018
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