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The Coronavirus Act and the end of temporary suspensions for retire and return

The UK government’s Coronavirus action plan, published on 3 March 2020, set out measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This included increasing the available health and social care workforce by removing barriers to allow recently retired NHS staff and social care workers to come back to work or increase their commitments without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced.

From 25 March 2020, the UK government’s emergency legislation, has temporarily suspended some of the regulations governing the administration of NHS pensions, including the temporary suspension of:

  • the 16-hour rule
  • abatement for special class status holders in the 1995 Section
  • draw down abatement in the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme

The measures predominantly affect members of the 1995 Section, although a smaller number of members could be affected by draw down abatement in the 2008 Section and the 2015 Scheme.

You can read more about the temporary suspensions in our COVID-19 guidance on support for retired members.

These temporary suspensions will end on 24 March 2022

The Coronavirus Act 2020 is designed to be time limited. Following a review of the Act in Parliament in October 2021, we have now been informed by the Department of Health and Social Care that the Act has been extended to 24 March 2022.

DHSC is asking employers and members to prepare for an end to the temporary suspensions and a return to normal arrangements from the 25 March 2022.

This is when the 16-hour rule in the 1995 Section, abatement for special class status holders in the 1995 Section and draw down abatement in the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme will come back into force.

You can find information on normal arrangements for returning to work after retirement on our Re-employment webpage.

What we’re doing to support you

We will soon be contacting all pensioner members who have retired and returned to work or chosen to draw down a portion of their benefits to let them know that the temporary suspensions will be ending and we will return to normal arrangements from 25 March 2022.

To enable affected pensioner members to negotiate their earnings and avoid abatement of their pension, if they wish to, we will provide pensioner members who are affected with their earning margins in the early part of 2022.