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Friday 15 September 2017

Unions move to protect pensions special class status

By MiP
MiP and other NHS unions have secured clarification from the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA), which runs the NHS pensions schemes, that there has been no change to the rules on special class status for staff working for Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The unions intervened after SBS circulated new advice to employers which appeared to suggest that nursing staff working for CCGs were no longer eligible for special class status in any circumstances. Both MiP and the Royal College of Nursing have received a number of complaints from members whose employers have attempted to remove their special class status in recent months.

Under the existing policy, CCG staff whose job required the qualifications and experience of a nurse, midwife or physiotherapist could retain special class status even when working in a largely management role.

The unions have now received written clarification from the BSA that the policy has not changed: "For clarity, CCGs can decide for themselves whether a member retains special class status up to director of nursing level… and nothing about the criteria has changed."

The BSA said its advice to CCGs had been intended to avoid the situation where members moving into posts which don't attract special class status didn't find out about the change until retirement.

Special class status applies to qualified nurses, midwives and physiotherapists who joined the pension scheme before April 1995, and allows them to retire at 55 with full benefits providing they worked in posts attracting special class status for five years before retirement.

If you think your special class status has been removed unfairly, contact your MiP national officer.

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