Members will be aware that the Fire Bridge Union (FBU) successfully challenged the UK Government on the transitional protection arrangements which came about following the introduction of the public sector pension schemes in April 2015.
Today the Department of Finance has launched a formal consultation on the proposals to remedy the age discrimination in NI devolved schemes since 1 April 2015. This consultation will provide proposed remedies for affected individuals with a retrospective choice to have their pension entitlements for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022 (the remedy period) calculated under either their reformed or legacy (pre-1 April 2015) scheme rules. This effectively provides a choice as to which arrangement provides the most appropriate benefit package for their remedy period service, as if the discrimination had not occurred. Allowing members the choice between legacy and reformed scheme benefits will be necessary as not all members would benefit from returning to the legacy schemes and many members are better off in the reformed schemes.
This consultation invites views on two options for when the choice about how pension entitlements in the remedy period are calculated, would be made.
(a) An immediate choice, made in the years immediately after policy implementation in 2022; or
(b) A deferred choice made at the point at which the member retires or takes their pension benefits.
This affects members who were in scope of the original policy for transitional protection i.e. those who were already in service on 31 March 2012 and also have service in the (remedy) period from 1 April 2015.
The full consultation documents can be accessed here.
The consultation runs from 19 August 2020 to 18 November 2020.
NIPSA is giving consideration to how we can best consult and engage with members and further bulletins will be issued in due course.