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Firefighters RDS modified scheme
What is pensionable service?

What is pensionable service?

For regular firefighters, “pensionable service” is their period of service as a member of FPS 2006 and in respect of which they have paid contributions. If their hours of employment are less than whole-time, the "calendar" (qualifying) length of service would be pro rated to reflect their part-time hours. For example if a regular firefighter worked half-time during six "calendar" years of service, the pensionable service for the pension calculation would be three years.

For retained firefighters, however, a totally different approach to pensionable service has to be used, based on pay. The actual pensionable pay they receive is compared with the pay that would have been received over the same period by a whole-time regular firefighter in the same role and with similar service. (FPS 2006 calls this "reference pay".)

The comparison will normally be made over each financial year (1 April to 31 March) during the firefighter's pensionable employment. It will indicate the proportion of pensionable service which will count in each financial year.

Suppose a retained firefighter worked for 3 financial years: from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2010. Assume pensionable pay of a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role over the same 3 year period was:

1.4.2007 to 30.6.2007 – £24,000

1.7.2007 to 30.6.2008 – £26,000

1.7.2008 to 30.6.2009 – £28,000

1.7.2009 to 31.3.2010 – £30,000

These rates of pay would be the starting point for working out the retained firefighter's pensionable service. Next we need to break down these rates of pay to show how much would actually have been received by the whole-time regular firefighter within each of the financial years:

Year 1 1.4.2007 to 30.6.2007 91/365 x £24,000 £ 5,983.56
1.7.2007 to 31.3.2008 274/365 x £26,000 £19,517.81
£25,501.37
Year 2 1.4.2008 to 30.6.2008 91/365 x £26,000 £ 6,482.19
1.7.2008 to 31.3.2009 274/365 x £28,000 £21,019.18
£27,501.37
Year 3 1.4.2009 to 30.6.2009 91/365 x £28,000 £ 6,980.82
1.7.2009 to 31.3.2010 274/365 x £30,000 £22,520.55
£29,501.37

Finally, to work out the service credit for each financial year, we divide the pensionable pay received by the retained firefighter by the pensionable pay received by the whole-time regular firefighter:

Year 1: £6,429.12/£25,501.37 = 0.2521 of a year

Year 2: £4,132.56/£27,501.37 = 0.1503 of a year

Year 3: £8,528.21/£29,501.37 = 0.2891 of a year

Total: 0.6915 years' pensionable service

It is 0.6915 years (approximately 252 days) that would be the pensionable service used in the pension calculation.

Various other periods may count as pensionable service, e.g. service credited on receipt of a transfer value from another pension arrangement, unpaid leave (including additional maternity, paternity and adoption leave, and industrial action) where the firefighter has paid contributions, or "purchased" service where contributions have been paid to improve retirement benefits. Special firefighter members who have been members of FPS 1992 or the unmodified FPS 2006 may also have pensionable service allowed under "conversion" arrangements which applied when they first elected to join the modified Scheme.