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Pension reforms aim to attract retired nurses back to work

Government says proposed changes will give returning staff more flexibility while protecting their finances, and will help ease pressures on NHS

Government says proposed changes will give returning staff more flexibility while protecting their finances, and will help ease pressures on NHS

Proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme have been set out in a bid to help retired nurses back to work without taking a hit to their finances.

The government has launched an eight-week consultation , and ministers said the changes included ‘flexibilities’ that would allow retired and partially retired staff to increase their working hours without having payments to their pension reduced or suspended.

Changes aim to make it easier for staff to return

Under the current system, pension abatement rules mean a nurse would see their pension reduced if

Government says proposed changes will give returning staff more flexibility while protecting their finances, and will help ease pressures on NHS

Picture: iStock

Proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme have been set out in a bid to help retired nurses back to work without taking a hit to their finances.

The government has launched an eight-week consultation, and ministers said the changes included ‘flexibilities’ that would allow retired and partially retired staff to increase their working hours without having payments to their pension reduced or suspended.

Changes aim to make it easier for staff to return

Under the current system, pension abatement rules mean a nurse would see their pension reduced if they return to work and their salary plus pension exceeds their pre-retirement salary. These rules were suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain suspended until March 2023.

But the proposed changes would allow staff to claim a portion of, or all of, their pension benefits while continuing to work and contribute to their pension, ministers said.

They hope the move will ease pressures on the NHS by making it quicker and easier for retiring staff to return, which would provide more flexible working opportunities for nurses as they approach the end of their careers. The reforms are expected to be implemented in late spring 2023.

Union says flexibility must not eclipse need for fairer pay

RCN national officer team leader Chris Musgrave said that while increased flexibility for staff was important, the government needed to address ‘what nursing staff are actually calling for’ – fairer pay.

‘The workforce crisis will not be fixed by tinkering at the edges,’ he added.

NHS Providers chief executive Saffron Cordery said meaningful pension reform for healthcare staff was overdue.

‘Trust leaders want to see radical changes to rules which discourage senior staff from working extra hours or coming out of retirement for fear of being slapped with significant and unpredictable tax bills,’ she said.

Pension reforms: what are the proposed changes?

  • A new partial retirement option to support older staff who want to work more flexibly
  • Removing limits on the hours recently retired staff can work
  • Allowing retired staff to rejoin the pension scheme
  • Fixing the ‘interaction’ between the pension tax system and inflation to give senior clinicians a chance to put away more than the £40,000 allowed in pension pot savings before they become taxable
  • Allowing primary care staff, such as general practice nurses, to access the NHS pension scheme

Source: GOV.UK


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