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Document I am a member of the 2015 Scheme with previous benefits in the 1995/2008 Scheme, can I still protect my pensionable pay used in the calculation of 1995/2008 Scheme benefits if I leave and return?

Protection of pay does not apply to the 2015 Scheme because it is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme. However, if you transitioned from the 1995/2008 Scheme to the 2015 Scheme on or after 1 April 2015 you will retain a final salary link for the purpose of calculating your 1995/2008 Scheme benefits, as long as you have not had a single continuous break of five years or more.

A final salary link means that when you retire your 1995/2008 Scheme benefits will be based on your pensionable pay at or near the time you retire and not at the point you transitioned to the 2015 Scheme.

Therefore, as long as you retain the final salary link you may be able to request Voluntary Protection of Pay (VPP) (1995 Section only) or Involuntary Protection of your pensionable pay in certain circumstances.

VPP may be considered in circumstances where, in the run up to retirement, a member wishes to continue in NHS employment but feels they may only be able to do so in a lesser capacity. It is intended to enable employers to maintain valuable knowledge and skills of a member who, without the opportunity to step-down, may otherwise have left the NHS.
 
If granted, VPP enables a member to move to a lower paid job that is less demanding or with less responsibility whilst protecting the pension benefits they accrued up to the date the higher paid job ceased.
 
VPP is not intended for situations where a member simply chooses to leave one NHS employer and commence employment with another on a reduced rate of pay. It can only be granted where the employer agrees to and arranges a member’s request to step down. Where a ‘step down’ role is arranged with a different NHS employer, both employers must confirm their agreement to the step down.  

Involuntary protection relates to circumstances where a member suffers a reduction in earnings through no fault of their own, such as redeployment due to organisational change or ill health. Any application for protection of pay must be endorsed by the relevant employer(s).

If you wish to apply for protection of pay you should complete the application form SM R9 App and send this to your employer.
 
More information about
Protection of Pay is available on the NHS Pensions website.
 
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