Absence from work

On this page:

  • Career breaks
  • Industrial action

Information about how to apply for career breaks and how this might affect your pension and industrial action.

Career Breaks

What happens to your NHS pension when you take a career break

If you're on authorised leave for a career break, you have the option to remain as an active member of the pension scheme by continuing to pay contributions.

You'll have to arrange for this with your employer before your leave begins as arrears can't be paid on your return to work. During the first six months of authorised leave, both you and your employer will pay contributions.

If your authorised leave extends beyond six months up to a maximum of 18 months, you'll have to pay both your own and your employer’s contributions to remain active in the scheme.

You can also choose to stop making scheme contributions while on authorised leave. In this case, once you stop making contributions your benefits will be preserved. When you return to work you can then re-join the scheme.

Industrial Action

The impact of industrial action on your NHS pension scheme contributions

As any period of absence from your work place due to industrial action is regarded as ‘non-pensionable’, no scheme contributions are deducted for any period of time you spend on strike. As a consequence, any earnings lost through industrial action are not included in your benefit calculations.

There’s also no provision to pay back contributions directly relating to strike days, but, there are other options to increase your benefits that you may want to consider following a prolonged period of industrial action.

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