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NHS pension protection extended for retired nurses who returned during pandemic

Suspension of pension abatement rules extended until October in Scotland

Suspension of pension abatement rules, which enabled nurses to return, was due to expire in March, but has been extended until October for nurses in Scotland

Retired nurses who returned to work in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic will avoid pension penalties until later this year after emergency measures were extended.

A temporary suspension of the NHS pension abatement rules has been extended until 31 October 2022 for all NHS staff in Scotland.

The emergency provisions, introduced under the Coronavirus Act in March 2020, were used to enable retired NHS staff to return to work without it affecting their pension. But these

Suspension of pension abatement rules, which enabled nurses to return, was due to expire in March, but has been extended until October for nurses in Scotland

Picture: iStock

Retired nurses who returned to work in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic will avoid pension penalties until later this year after emergency measures were extended.

A temporary suspension of the NHS pension abatement rules has been extended until 31 October 2022 for all NHS staff in Scotland.

The emergency provisions, introduced under the Coronavirus Act in March 2020, were used to enable retired NHS staff to return to work without it affecting their pension. But these measures were due to expire on 24 March.

Pension change recognises the ‘important contribution retired nursing staff have made’

The Scottish Public Pensions Agency confirmed the NHS pension abatement rules will be suspended for a further seven months to 31 October 2022.

RCN Scotland said it is good news for its members who returned to work to support the NHS during the pandemic.

Interim director Colin Poolman said: ‘The extension to the suspension of the rules is recognition of the very important contribution retired nursing staff have made since March 2020 and continue to make.’

Thousands of nurses may leave NHS once pension abatement returns

The extension follows an analysis that suggested as many as 7,470 recently retired healthcare staff could be adversely affected when abatement rules return in England.

It is not yet known whether England, Wales and Northern Ireland will extend the temporary abatement suspension beyond 24 March.

NHS pension specialist Graham Crossley, who produced the analysis, said: ‘There is a risk of thousands of doctors and nurses leaving the NHS unless urgent action is taken.’

What is pension abatement and will it affect me?

  • Some members of the NHS pension scheme, including nurses with special class status, can retire at 55 without losing any pension. But if they return to work for the NHS, their pension may be docked
  • In short, their pension would be reduced pound for pound if their new salary – plus their NHS pension – adds up to more than they were earning before they retired. This is known as abatement
  • Abatement was suspended as part of the government’s coronavirus action plan to help retired nurses return to work in the NHS without a hit to their pension, but the suspension is set to end on 24 March


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