The following information updates previous guidance provided in our January 2016 newsletter.
The article in the January 2016 Employer Newsletter informed you continue to use your current method of calculating notional whole time pay for part time members with whole time supplementary payments.
The article explained the reasons why the notional whole time rate of pay for a part time Officer (or Practice Staff) member must be proportionate to a whole time member in the same role. This ensures that both types of members pay the same tiered rate of employee contributions and their 1995 and 2008 Section pension benefits at retirement are based on the same (notional or actual) whole time rate of pensionable pay.
Where an Officer/Practice Staff member works part time, any supplementary payments for unsocial hours should be added after the basic notional whole time rate of pensionable pay has been calculated, not before. By calculating this way, the notional whole time rate of pay is proportionate and not inflated.
The Electronic Staff Record (ESR) system was updated in April 2016 to take account of the above and assesses the tiered contribution rate on 1 April each year. However, it does not assess a contribution rate change during the financial year, which means you must continue to assess that the correct contribution rate is being paid where the member has a change in the pay including an increment or pay rise.
Part time 1995 or 2008 Section members who work supplementary hours should now be paying the correct level of contributions, although their Annual Benefit Statement or estimate of benefits will still be over inflated in the majority of cases. From the NHSBSA systems perspective, the big issue is that we do not currently receive the pay from employers broken down into the constituent parts to enable the calculation change to be made. We would need to effectively hold two pay figures, the ‘base pay’ and the ‘unsocial hours’ elements separately so that we could uprate the base pay and then add on the unsocial hours element already paid at full time rate. It is the complexity of this that creates the problems for the system as it would require:
- All of the interfaces (Pension Online, ESR, paper forms and ‘Batch’) to be changed to capture the two pay figures
- All of the validations around pay changing to validate the inputs separately
- Database changes to store the split pay figures
- All of the internal functions which allow users to amend or calculate pay details would need to be developed to handle to two fields.
It is unlikely that there will be any NHSBSA system changes to this magnitude in the near future. Therefore it is recommended that:
- you not to amend your systems or practices
- you continue with the status quo
- where you identify that contributions are paid in excess of the whole time equivalent, these are refunded to the member where requested and pay is capped at whole time equivalent for pension purposes
- member complaints are dealt with on an individual basis by NHS Pensions.