Is my maternity leave pensionable?
Where an employee intends to return to work the amount of contractual maternity pay payable can be found here
By prior agreement with the employer occupational maternity pay may be paid in a different way, for example a combination of full pay and half pay or a fixed amount spread equally over the maternity leave period.
If you have chosen to spread your maternity pay over the full year then pension contributions are not deducted during the final three months of payment and these will be owing as arrears which you can pay when you return to work. Pension contributions are deducted on the basis that you claim standard maternity payments only so if you spread the payments you will still have an unpaid period after 39 weeks of maternity leave.
Your maternity, paternity or adoption leave is pensionable, as long as pension contributions are paid to cover the leave period. If you are entitled to maternity, paternity or adoption pay, your employer will continue to deduct contributions on the pay you receive.
If you go onto nil pay, the contributions will be based on the amount of pay received immediately prior to the start of the unpaid period.
When you return to work following leave, your employer should arrange for any contribution arrears to be collected.
If you repay contributions, this period will be treated as continuous pensionable employment. Your service will be credited as if you did not have an unpaid period.
Your maternity, paternity or adoption leave is pensionable. As long as you continue to receive your share of the partnership profits, then normal pension contributions will be deducted on the amount of pay you received during the leave.
You can elect to pay contributions in respect of any unpaid maternity, paternity and adoption leave periods. The contributions during the nil pay period will be based on the amount of pay received immediately prior to the start of the unpaid period.
If you repay contributions, this period will be treated as continuous pensionable employment. Your pension record will be credited with your full share of partnership profit as if you did not have unpaid period.
Your maternity, paternity or adoption leave is pensionable, as long as you continue to receive pensionable NHS earnings (including statutory maternity pay).
During a period of paid maternity, paternity or adoption leave, your pension record will continue to record the earnings you were receiving immediately prior to your leave.
You can elect to pay contributions in respect of any unpaid period in a similar way to secondary care doctors.
If you repay contributions, this period will be treated as continuous pensionable employment. Your pension record will be credited with unreduced contractual earnings (deemed pay) as if you did not have unpaid period.
The Type 2 end of year form must be completed to detail the pensionable break taken and a maternity break form may be required, if relevant, to be completed by the practice.
GP locums/bank staff are not able to continue to pay pension contributions during a period of maternity, paternity or adoption leave. You are only able to contribute to the scheme while actually working.
If you are a doctor in training read how rotations can impact on maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
Not returning to work from maternity leave
Your pension contributions will continue to be deducted from the pay you actually receive. Your last day of scheme membership will be the last day you paid pension contributions.
If you change your mind and decide not to return to work, the last day of pensionable membership will be the date on which contributions ceased.
You can’t have a refund if you made contributions during your leave. A refund is only possible if you have been contributing to the scheme for less than two years in total. Where a refund is possible you should consider whether you want to access this or whether, if you plan to resume pensionable service within 5 years of leaving the scheme, it is in your interests to leave those benefits accrued to revalue in line with inflation plus 1.5%. Active revaluation including the additional 1.5% ceases after a break of 5 years or more.
Any refund of contributions taken is subject to income tax deductions.
If you are a secondary care doctor and your pension becomes payable during a period of reduced pay or unpaid leave pensionable leave, pensionable pay will be calculated as though no reduction in pay had occurred.
If you are a GP and your pension becomes payable during a period of reduced pay or unpaid leave pensionable leave, your credited ‘deemed’ income will reflect the correct position depending on whether you are a GP partner or a salaried GP.
Paying your contributions
You will continue to pay the same percentage contribution as applied immediately before your period of maternity, paternity or adoption leave began.
- When in receipt of full pay: contributions are payable on full pay.
- When in receipt of half pay: contributions are payable on the half pay.
- When in receipt of statutory maternity pay: contributions are payable on the amount actually received.
- When on unpaid leave: contributions are based on the rate of pay immediately before the period of unpaid leave began.
It is not compulsory to make pension contributions during unpaid leave. If you would prefer not to then you must notify your employer prior to your pay reducing to nil.
Pension contributions are deducted based on standard maternity payments so there will be unpaid pension contributions if you remain on maternity leave after the paid 39 standard weeks even if you have spread your maternity pay over the full 52 weeks available.
Whilst maternity allowance itself is not pensionable you are able to contribute to the scheme in the same way as if it were a period of unpaid leave.
In these circumstances the rate of contribution is based on your pay immediately prior to commencing any maternity leave period.
If, for some reason, your employer has failed to collect contributions during your leave, these can be repaid but it must be done within a reasonable timescale.
Your employer should be informed as soon as possible after return to work to make the necessary arrangements to collect contributions from your pay.
If you opted out of contributing during your leave you cannot change your mind and elect to pay the contributions whilst on the period of absence or after. You are only able to resume prospective active membership on your return to work.
Arrangements can be made through your employer to pay the arrears on return to work. The arrears have to be repaid within a reasonable amount of time agreed between you and your employer.
The employer contribution is based on full pay throughout your leave. This is the case even if your pay reduces or stops during the leave period.
Yes. Contributions are payable for the KIT days based on the level of pay which was payable prior to the KIT day (e.g. reduced earnings).
Any part day worked is taken as a full day for pension purposes.
If you are buying added years or additional pension you will continue to pay contributions based on your unreduced pensionable pay immediately before the period of maternity, paternity or adoption leave commenced.
For any period of unpaid leave, added years or additional pension contributions remain deductible at the rate of unreduced pay immediately before the period of leave started.
Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave continues to be pensionable, with tiered contributions based on the unreduced rate of pay, unless you opt out of pensioning the break.
Impact on annual allowance calculations
Errors in recording service and pay during periods of maternity leave can result in inflated pension growth figures which would appear to give rise to annual allowance charges. As pay is ‘deemed’ to be unreduced during periods of pensioned leave fluctuations in pension growth should be minimal on a return to full paid employment.