As we continue to receive enquiries relating to the 'pension' side of the Part-time workers less favourable treatment (PTWLFT) we thought it would be helpful to update members on the current situation.
By now the vast majority of RDS staff (past and present) will have received their compensation payment for the 'terms and conditions' side of the settlement, however, the pension aspect of the claim is still to be formally agreed. The information we have been given from central government is that the proposed settlement is with HMRC for 'fine tuning'. Once HMRC are satisfied a proposal will be issued for consultation. As a stakeholder we will respond to this consultation process and the consultation document will be available on our website for members to provide their own feedback either individually or through the RFU.
We believe that it would be unwise to speculate on the contents of the proposal even though we have a good understanding of what the majority of the proposal will include. But what we can assure all RFU members, past and present, is that we will protect your position so that all eligible persons will be provided with their options and entitlements.
Updates on further developments will be provided in due course.
New Pension Scheme for 2015
The government, including stakeholders, have been working on a new firefighters pension scheme due to be implemented in 2015. While the mechanisms of the scheme are yet to be finalised, it is clear that it will mirror much of the detail already contained within the 2006 scheme with the exception that it will be a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme rather than a final salary scheme.
You will be aware that the public sector, just like the private sector, have realised that final salary pension schemes are no longer sustainable and need to reflect the contributions of members throughout their career rather that the salary earned in their final year.
Even the proposed Normal Pension Age (NPA), the age at which a pension is payable, is the same as the 2006 scheme (60 years).
Something that could potentially be an issue is level of fitness staff need to maintain to remain in the service and by default, the pension scheme. While not a matter for the pension scheme itself, locally FRSs have broadly implemented a fitness standard recommended by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) that we believe is questionable and is discriminatory on the grounds of age and sex.
This issue has prompted a separate piece of work to try to determine the appropriate level of fitness required for the job that is legally justified. We very much hope that this will result in a more realistic fitness standard that doesn't hinder the recruitment and retention of RDS staff.
As more information becomes available we will ensure it is shared with our members but in the meantime if you have any experiences relating to fitness standards or questions relating to the proposed pension scheme, please contact either your local RFU official or RFU HQ.