How leave of absence and strike action affect your pension
Absences from work you’re covered for under the pension scheme rules
If you’re absent from work and get reduced or no pay for any of the reasons in the list below, we’ll protect your pension by using your assumed pensionable pay instead, which is just the pay you would have got if you weren’t absent.
So you won’t lose out, pension-wise, if you were absent from work for any of these reasons.
- Sickness or injury on reduced or no pay
- Reserve forces leave on reduced or no pay
- Ordinary maternity leave on reduced or no pay*
- Ordinary paternity leave on reduced or no pay*
- Ordinary adoption leave on reduced or no pay*
- Additional maternity leave on reduced pay
- Additional paternity leave on reduced pay
- Additional adoption leave on reduced pay
*Your employer can tell you how long this is. Any period not classed as ordinary leave will be classed as additional leave – see below.
Assumed pensionable pay is usually based on the pay you got in the three months before the reduction, excluding any lump sums you were paid.
Absences from work you’re not covered for under the pension scheme rules
For other periods of absence, you can pay extra contributions to make up the ‘lost’ pension. We describe the different types here.
Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)
You can elect to pay SCAPCs to cover ‘lost’ pension if you’re absent from work for the following reasons.
- Additional maternity leave on no pay
- Additional paternity leave on no pay
- Additional adoption leave on no pay
- Authorised leave of absence on no pay
If you want to pay SCAPCs, you must elect to do so within 30 days of returning to work. You’ll then pay one third of the cost while your employer pays two thirds. You can pay SCAPCs as a one-off lump sum or regular payments over a period of time.
If you don’t elect to pay SCAPCs within 30 days, you can still buy back the ‘lost’ pension, but you would have to pay the whole cost under a regular APC contract and your employer wouldn’t pay any of the cost. This could make a big difference to how much you pay so act straightaway if you want to cover lost pension for this type of absence.
Paying extra to cover periods of strike action
You can't pay SCAPCs to cover pension 'lost' through strike but you can pay APCs to buy back this ‘lost’ pension. This means that you have to pay the whole cost yourself – your employer won’t contribute.