Following a public consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced a further extension to retire and return easements beyond the current 31 October 2022 expiry date, through temporary amendments to NHS Pension Scheme regulations.
These easements allow retired and partially retired staff to return to work in the NHS or increase their working commitments without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced (known as abatement).
What was included in the consultation
Since March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care has suspended rules in the NHS Pension Scheme to allow retired and partially retired staff to return to work or increase their working commitments without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced.
From 25 March 2020 to 25 March 2022, these temporary easements were provided by section 45 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. The Department of Health and Social Care then extended the temporary ‘retire and return’ easements until 31 October 2022.
Following a public consultation which ran from 28 August to 12 September 2022, the Department of Health and Social Care has decided the temporary easements should be extended beyond the 31 October 2022.
Extending the temporary easements
In the consultation response, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it is extending the temporary retire and return easements as follows:
- the 16-hour rule will be suspended to 31 March 2023, with further proposals for its permanent removal from 1 April 2023
- abatement of special class status members will be suspended to 31 March 2025
- abatement of draw-down members of the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme will be suspended to 31 March 2023
You can find out more about what the easing of the retire and return restrictions means on the COVID-19 guidance on support for retired members web page.
Updates on what we’re doing to support you
In February 2022 we contacted all pensioner members who have:
- retired and returned to work
- chosen to draw down part of their benefits
This was to tell them that the temporary retire and return easements were being extended to 31 October 2022.
We will write to affected members again to inform them of the outcome of the consultation.