What happens to your pension benefits when you take parental leave

As you'd expect, the different types of parental leave have different impacts on your pension benefits. 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.

Maternity leave

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.

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