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My contract has changed

Part Time Employees

National Health Service Superannuation Scheme (Scotland) –  Access to Membership for part-time Employees (Preston)

NHS Superannuation Scheme Membership Terms: 'From 1st April 1991, access to the Scheme was extended to all NHS employees, regardless of the hours worked, and from 1st September 1997 membership was automatic for all.'

Between 1st April 1973 and 31st March 1991, full-time NHS employees and part-time employees working at least half the full-time hours for their grade had access to the NHS Superannuation Scheme.  Full-time staff automatically commenced contributing to the Scheme(but, from 6th April 1988, could elect to not to join or leave), whilst eligible part-time staff had to elect to join. Part-time NHS employees working less than half the full-time hours for their grade had no right to membership of the Scheme, other than part-time medical and dental officers.

The Employment Tribunal ruling

In brief, the Employment Tribunal’s ruling was that part-time employees who had been employed for less than half full time hours and had been excluded from membership of an occupational pension scheme had been unfairly discriminated against and, subject to certain criteria, should be given the right to purchase retrospective scheme membership for such service from 8th April 1976. The Tribunal also established that an application to purchase a period of part-time service had to be made while an individual was still in the relevant employment or not later than six months after they had left or had a break. You should note that ‘relevant employment’ has been held to mean each individual trust as the NHS is not a distinct employer.  A full version of the rulings on the test cases can be access on the website of the HM Courts & Tribunal Service. 

Current Position

Until recently we were unable to investigate claims that had not been lodged with the Scottish Employment Tribunals. Now that one of the final appeals has been settled we can begin to examine such claims in light of the precedents established by those Tribunal hearings.

We currently have around 600 cases which are being prioritising by the age of the claimant, and it will take some time to investigate each employment history and issue decisions.

Each claim will be compared against the main criteria below but please note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be other reasons why a claim cannot succeed.

  1. The claimant must have been excluded by the regulations.
  2. If the claimant did not join the scheme soon after becoming eligible then their claim is unlikely to succeed for any periods after 1st April 1988 when membership for full-time employees stopped being compulsory.
  3. The claimant must have applied to purchase their part-time service within 6 months of leaving the relevant employment (N.B. A voluntary change of trust is deemed to be a break in employment). If the 6 month rule has been breached then the claim will be time-barred and cannot be considered.

Those who had the legal right to membership but, for whatever reason, did not exercise it, cannot claim to have past part-time service treated as pensionable under the Employment Tribunal rulings.

It is important to note that, when you are a member of the NHS Superannuation Scheme, you are not included in the State Second Pension.  This means that purchasing previously excluded NHS Service may reduce your State benefits. 

Link to Scottish Government Website