Recent declarations at Employment Tribunals, following a court ruling that found the public sector pension protections to be discriminatory, are set to have implications across the public sector including the NHS.
In December 2018 it was determined that the transitional protections introduced as part of the 2015 changes to the judges’ and fire fighters’ pension schemes were discriminatory based on age. The matter was passed onto Employment Tribunals to determine how those that have been discriminated against will be compensated.
As previously reported, the government has accepted a “read across” of the legal judgment to all other public sector pension schemes, which includes the NHS Pension Scheme, with similar protections.
Interim declarations have already been made in relation to the judges, police, MoD police and most recently the fire fighters that entitle those who have been discriminated against to return to their pre-2015 pension scheme.
Prior to the general election, the government stated that members of all other public service pension schemes, including those in the NHS pension scheme, that are in the same position as the claimants will be treated the same.
However, this is not straightforward, as simply returning all relevant members to their pre-2015 scheme would cause detriment for some members that are expected to be better off in the new scheme.
It’s important to remember that the courts found that the transitional protections that were introduced as part of the move to the 2015 scheme were discriminatory not the scheme itself. Hence, it is likely that the 2015 scheme will remain unchanged.
The NHS Pension Scheme Advisory Boards that cover the England and Wales scheme, the Scotland scheme and the Northern Ireland Scheme are due to meet over the coming weeks.
The process for compensating NHS scheme members who have been discriminated against will be discussed at these meetings.
Once more detailed information is available on how compensation will be applied this will be circulated to branches.