What happens to your pension benefits when you take parental leave
On this page:
- Maternity leave
- Paternity leave, parental leave and adoption leave
- Updating your beneficiaries
While all maternity, paternity or adoption leave arrangements should be discussed directly with your employer, the following guidelines outline the way each type of leave is treated for pension benefit purposes.
Paid maternity leave
While on paid maternity leave, your pension scheme membership will continue and you'll pay scheme contributions at the same percentage rate. Contributions will be based on your actual pensionable pay which will be either full pay or Statutory Maternity Pay.
Unpaid maternity leave
While on unpaid maternity leave, you’ll remain a member of your NHS pension scheme. Although it’s not compulsory to pay scheme contributions while on unpaid leave you can choose to make arrangements with your employer before your unpaid leave begins to pay the ‘arrears’ on your return to work. Your contributions for this period are based on the pensionable pay you receive immediately before you start unpaid maternity leave. If the contribution arrears are not paid then you won’t accrue pension for this period.
Keeping in Touch days
Any 'Keeping in Touch' days you undertake are pensionable and you will pay scheme contributions based on the pensionable pay you actually receive.
If you don't intend to return to work after maternity leave
Your last day of scheme membership will be the last day you pay scheme contributions. Any pension you have accrued will be preserved.
Paternity leave, parental leave and adoption leave
Paid parental leave
While on paid paternity, paternal or adoption leave, you’ll remain a member of your NHS pension scheme and continue to pay scheme contributions. The scheme contribution percentage rate you pay throughout this leave will remain the same, however, your contributions during paid leave will be deducted from the pensionable pay you actually receive.
Unpaid parental leave
During a period of unpaid leave, you’ll remain a member of your NHS pension scheme. Although it’s not compulsory to pay scheme contributions while on unpaid leave you can choose to make arrangements with your employer before your unpaid leave begins to pay the ‘arrears’ on your return to work. Your contributions for this period are based on the pensionable pay you receive immediately before you start your unpaid leave. If the contribution arrears are not paid then you won’t accrue pension for this period.
Updating your beneficiaries
Making a nomination
Lump sum on Death
If you are a member of the National Health Service Pension Scheme (Scotland) (NHSSS(S)) on or after 1 April 2008 the regulations provide benefits on death.
In the event of your death, benefits will automatically (on application) be paid to your:
- civil partner
- surviving partner.
However, if you do not wish any of the above to receive death benefits, you also have the option to make a specific nomination. NHS members can request that a nomination be made to either: a) an individual or individuals, or b) a personal representative, or c) a corporate or unincorporated body. However, you cannot have a combination of the above.
If you have no spouse/civil partner/surviving partner when you die and you have not made a nomination, the lump sum will be paid to your legal personal representative and will form part of your estate.
If you have nominated two or more individuals to receive the lump sum, you should specify the exact proportion that each individual is to receive. This should be expressed as a whole percentage and must total 100%. If your nominee dies, the designated proportion of the lump sum that is due to them will be paid to your personal representative. It is therefore, in your interest to ensure that you submit a fresh nomination form when there are any changes.
You should ensure that we are advised of any change in your nominee’s contact details and it is your responsibility to ensure that all nominees are aware of the terms of the nomination.
Nominations can be revoked at any time and if you wish to revoke or change your nomination, please notify us. This will supersede any previous nominations made.
If you are currently a member of both NHS and STSS, please complete two separate forms. We will acknowledge receipt of your application using the email address supplied. We will not under any circumstances supply this to another party.