Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Pension update

Members will be aware that several public sector unions were threatening strike action in April against increasing the retirement age to 65.

The government clearly wanted to avoid this before the general election, thus the deputy prime minister announced that "open and fresh discussions" are to take place.

I will keep members informed of developments as to how the DfES proposes to proceed in dealing with the review of the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

Though there is now some uncertainty about the future of the review, I cannot imagine that the work so far will be discounted.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the government's proposal to increase the retirement age will be withdrawn.

Whatever happens next, the Teachers' Panel, including SHA, will continue to press for improvements to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

Annual benefit statements will be issued to Teachers' Pension Scheme members once employers have made their annual returns. Some employers will have done this by the end of April, but others will not even meet the 31 August deadline.

It astonishes me to learn that some employers have still not completed their returns from the year ending March 2004.

Scheme members will not receive benefit statements until the returns have been made. It may be worth reminding your employer of the deadline and that it's in their employees' interests to make returns quickly.

Of particular importance on the benefits statement is the teacher's record of service. Errors or omissions should be dealt with as soon as possible. The first port of call should be the employer at the time of the missing service as it is usually an error of submission.

If this fails to put the matter right, you will need to take advice directly from Teachers' Pensions.

By Mac Podmore,
SHA pensions consultant

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