Pensions Line - March 2020

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March 2020

COVID-19 Re-employment of key workers

There is a Government drive to get recent retirees in health and social work back into the workforce very quickly. One barrier to this could be the abatement of LGPS benefits on re-employment. Devon Pension Fund doesn’t have an abatement policy, so if any key workers are being re-employed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis it will not impact their pension. Somerset Pension Fund has a different policy so re-employed pensioners would only have their pension abated if their original employer incurred a cost on their retirement (e.g. redundancy, interests of efficiency, ill-health, other early retirement where there was a strain cost).

Stay at home

Business Continuity Plan Update

Following the recent measures put in place by the Government to contain the Coronavirus, Peninsula Pensions are currently unable to provide any form of postal correspondence due to our staff being unable to access the printing and postage facilities located in our office. We therefore intend to communicate with members electronically during this period via our online MSS (Member Self Service) Portal. We are in the process of writing to all members recommending they check their ‘sign-in’ details and ensure they can access the service or for those who have not yet signed up to do so.
As stated in an earlier edition this month, we will shortly be providing you with a report listing all active members not currently signed up to MSS, if you can aide us in passing the word out of this new stance this will be gratefully appreciated.
You can still contact us on our phone line below and through our website ‘contact us’ area. We will however be unable to issue any postal correspondence and a delay should therefore be expected for members who choose not to sign up to the online services. We will keep you up to date with any changes we make to protect employees and level of service we can offer.

The LGPS and stock markets - a message from the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board

There has been a lot of disturbing news lately about the fall in stock markets and the potential resultant impact on defined contribution pensions.
LGPS defined benefit pensions are not linked to stock market performance and are set out in statute.
Although short term investment values may vary, the LGPS as a long-term investor is securely managed to address any longer term impacts.
LGPS Scheme members can therefore be assured that both their contributions and their pension, whether in payment or built up to date, will be unaffected.

Members with an entitlement to immediate payment of Pension

Further to an item in February’s edition in which we stated if a member takes their pension benefits more than 12 months and a day after their leaving date, the lump sum becomes an unauthorised payment and we will apply the relevant tax charge to their lump sum as instructed by HMRC regulations. We have received further clarification from the Local Government Association (LGA) to confirm that the tax charge is only applicable if we pay the members pension benefit 12 months after we have received their election forms which should not happen. Therefore, the part relating to this on the retirement option letter has now been taken out.

Furloughed Workers and the LGPS

The LGA have been contacted regarding the implications on LGPS pensions for anyone designated a furloughed worker under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
They are in the process of developing some guidance for all funds which they will issue as soon as possible.
In the meantime, they have advised that the following article might be of use:

Provision of Data

It is important that you put processes in place to retain access to historical payroll information when you change payroll provider so that you can continue to fulfil your responsibilities as a Scheme employer

Employer Workshops

Under the current circumstances, the planned Employer Self Service (ESS) workshops will be postponed until further notice. In the meantime, please see our website for guidance on ESS and the processes you need to follow. The delay will naturally have an impact on the planned training schedule as mentioned at the PLOG’s at the start of the year. We will continue to develop our guidance and are currently looking at whether training sessions in all areas can be run remotely or via e-learning. In the meantime, please continue to use the employer guide on our website.

TUPE’s & New Academies

If you are outsourcing services and have a number of staff who will be subject to TUPE and moving to a new employer or your school is converting to an Academy or moving MAT, please do not submit any leaver forms as this will complicate the process – instead there is a staff data capture spreadsheet you can complete on our website.

Keep us updated

Please remember to keep us updated with any changes in staff responsible for completing our forms (authorised signatories). This can be done by completing our via our online form.

You can also use this form to notify us of your IDRP Stage 1 Appeals Officer and any delegated authorised contacts.

Payment of Pension Fund Contributions

Please remember to inform us and the relevant Finance team each time you have paid your pension scheme contributions, by filling in the Monthly Contributions Form. If we receive the returns right away with the payments and they are correct - it makes the process so much easier, so please ensure that you build this form into your procedures.

If you are a Somerset Pension Fund employer, please contact the Corporate Finance Team for a copy of the Monthly Contribution Return:

If you are a Devon Pension Fund Employer, you will need to use the online EAS5 form. If you have not already registered, a login can be obtained from the Employer and Communications Team.


Employer & Communications  Team

Quick links

Employer Services (ESS) Guide

Peninsula Pensions Employers' Pages

Peninsula Pensions  Employers' Guide

LGPS regulations and guidance

Fund Investments

LGPS National Website


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