24th May 2016
TO: BRIGADE SECRETARIES
PENSIONS: FBU VICTORY FOR FIREFIGHTERS WHO JOINED FPS AGED 18-20 – UPDATE ON DELAY
Over the last few weeks you may have been contacted by members who are (or may be) affected by this decision asking for an update and a timescale for this issue to be resolved.
This issue was due to have been remedied through the rules of the scheme within 6 months of the decision. The rule change was necessary to enable the individual in this situation to cease contributions until age 50, or to be repaid the overpaid contributions as detailed in the decision.
Unfortunately to date, the rules have not been amended and individuals have still not been compensated. The Home Office has already indicated that the delay was in some part caused by their departmental change, when the responsibility for fire was moved from the Department for Communities and Local Government. The FBU has been discussing specific details around the decision, and how it will impact on individuals depending on their situation. During these discussions we have also raised concerns regarding the delay with officials of the Home Office and have been assured that it is being dealt with.
RECAP - SUMMARY OF THE DECISION
Firefighters who joined the 1992 FPS aged 18-20 have previously had to contribute for up to 32 years to receive a 30 year pension at the earliest age of 50. Following our legal challenge, we received correspondence from the Department for Communities and Local Government (now the Home Office) conceding our case.
They accepted that rules of the 1992 FPS would be amended to allow an affected member (i.e. one who joined before at age of 20) upon reaching 50, to be able to choose to:
· Retire with a pension.
· Continue employment and recommence payment of contributions (the accrual cap remains in place with a maximum thirty years pension).
· Or continue employment without paying contributions, thereby electing to defer their pension.
The proposal is to be applied retrospectively to 1st December 2006 (the date when discrimination of this type became unlawful).
· If a firefighter has already paid contributions in to the FPS after that date; and
· Has already accrued 30 years’ pensionable service; and
· Was under the age of 50; He/she will get a refund of contributions for that period. This refund will include a payment in relation to interest.
We are continuing to press the Home Office for an early resolution to this issue and will report any developments as they emerge.
Yours in Unity,