NHS physiotherapists and assistants in England and Wales will keep the right to retire at 60 on a final salary pension, after agreement between health unions and NHS Employers.
The agreement, which staff are being asked to comment on, does however mean that new staff will have to work until 65 and that payments into the pension scheme will rise. The review of the NHS pension scheme began in 2003, and a consultation was launched last year based on the government's proposal to raise the retirement age to 65. It had also proposed pensions be based on career average earnings rather than final salary. However, following threats from health service unions to resist an increase in the retirement age, the current age of 60 has been kept for existing employees. The scheme will also remain a final salary one for both current and new employees. Most staff will pay an additional 0.5 per cent in contributions, with those earning under £15,107 contributing slightly less. Those staff earning over £63,417 will pay an additional 1.5 to 2.5 per cent extra. Janice Collins, who has been leading the CSP's negotiations, said although some members would see a slight increase in their pension payments, they would also see new benefits. These include new rights for surviving partners, the introduction of partner pensions and greater control over lump sum payouts. She added: 'Most crucially, we're delighted to have successfully retained a pension age of 60 for existing members of the NHS pension scheme (55 for some CSP members) and a final salary scheme for both current and new entrants without the NHS incurring any additional costs.' Ms Collins said staff would get full details of the new scheme in their pay packets next month. The consultation period will run from September until the end of November, and the new scheme is due to start in 2007, with changes to the current scheme for existing staff from April 2008. Current staff members would also be able to opt to transfer into the new scheme in 2007. FURTHER INFORMATION For further information, go to www.csp.org.uk/director/workplaceissues/pensions.cfm The CSP's industrial relations committee pensions group has endorsed the proposal, and members can email their views on the new scheme to email@example.com
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