What will be the implications of me returning to the force under the new Returner Scheme?
Under the scheme, you will gain access to your lump sum, earn a ‘new’ SYP salary, and dependent upon the level of that salary, you may receive a partially abated pension. Equally, your pension may be fully abated (that is, stopped whilst ever your earnings via salary are the same, or exceed, your SYP earnings pre-retirement).
Each individual officer considering returning under this scheme will have their own personal financial circumstances that will influence their decision, alongside some potential reductions to their pension upon retirement, for instance, due to a divorce.
Under the Returner Scheme, you will be able to reduce your working hours and still be in the same financial position as you were before you retired, the only exception being you will in receipt of your Pension Commencement Lump Sum. This is because although you will have a reduced salary (due to reduced hours), under the Pension Regulations, you will be able to draw either an abated, or even full, pension. Some examples, again by rank, are shown below -
Do I need to leave a gap between retiring and returning?
Yes, you will need to leave at least a month between retiring (i.e. the point you stop being paid) and returning in your new role. The reason for this is due to HMRC tax rules. Provided a month is left, your pension lump sum, and other pension payments, are safe.
Can I be paid overtime?
Yes, and this will be paid in line with normal Police Regulations as per your pre-retirement service.
If you return as a part-time officer, however, you can still work overtime, but you will be paid at plain time for additional hours worked between your contractual hours and 40 hours per week. A week is defined as Monday to Sunday.
Under Police Regulations, certain conditions exist whereby a part-time officer can get paid enhanced rates of overtime even when their weekly working hours do not exceed 40 hours, for example working a weekly leave day. Police Regulations apply as normal here.
Will my pensions return to normal when I retire for a second time?
Yes, you will be able to receive your full, monthly pension from you original retirement when you stop working. This is because your salary has stopped and the abatement can be removed from your monthly pension.
So, I can work less than my pre-retirement hours and still take home the same money?
Yes, this is ‘optimised’ at 50 per cent FTE, i.e. 20 hrs per week. This is based on an ‘average’ retirement as described earlier, and is the point where part-time salary and 100 per cent receipt of monthly pension total the same salary you were earning pre-retirement.
If you worked 32 hours (80 per cent), for example, 60 per cent of your monthly pension would need to be abated to ensure your total earnings do not exceed those pre-retirement.
Anything below 50 per cent, on average, will result in your earnings being less than your pre-retirement earnings.
Are there any other earnings that I could be paid that would affect this?
The only other earnings that would impact upon your pensionable pay is if a period of Acting-Up into the next rank was undertaken. All subsequent earnings under any acting arrangement would impact your total pensionable pay and would result in either an additional abatement to your monthly pension or the commencement of abatement arrangement. It may have no impact and your pension could carry on being 100 per cent abated, or zero per cent abated.
I have a divorce debit on my pension, how will this impact me?
As each officer is ultimately unique in their pension’s arrangements, i.e. age, gender, service, etc. and all these factors influence your final pension ‘package’, you will need to carefully consider your circumstances as part of application to re-join the force under the Returner Scheme.
By obtaining a pensions estimate or as a natural by-product of notifying the force of your intention to retire, you will receive full details of your retirement package and therefore your lump sum and future pensions earnings. Any specific reduction because of divorces etc. will be clear on these estimates. This will provide you with the information you need, alongside your pre-retirement salary, to understand the best arrangements for you if applying for the Returner Scheme.
Are there any tax implications?
As long as you leave one month between retiring and returning, the only taxation issue to be aware of is the normal PAYE / National Insurance deductions taken as part of being a salaried employee.
You will be automatically enrolled into the 2006 pension scheme, and unless you decide to opt-out of this, your salary will have pension’s contributions in line with the 2006 scheme regulations.
The force will not be aware of any other financial products or service that you may have that would impact your personal taxation position, and as the force is not licensed to give financial advice, officers are urged to ensure that they obtain their own taxation advice should they wish.
I receive rent allowance - will I receive this on my return to SYP?
No. You are no longer able to receive rent allowance.
I receive housing allowance - will I receive this on my return to SYP?
No. You are no longer able to receive housing allowance.
Do I have to join a pension scheme on my return to SYP?
In accordance with the Pensions Act 2008, SYP will auto-enrol you in the 2006 Pension Scheme.
Why can I not join the 1987 Police Pension Scheme?
The 1987 Police Pension Scheme is closed to new starters.
Why can I not join the 2015 Police Pension Scheme? Applicable for police officers in the 1987 and 2006 Police Pension Schemes
There is a requirement that police officers that return to work after a gap in service, not exceeding five years, must be re-enrolled into a ‘final salary’ pension scheme.
I am in the 1987 Police Pension Scheme - will I be eligible for further accrual under the 2006 Police Pension Scheme?
Police officers with maximum pension’s benefits in the 1987 scheme will not be eligible for any further pension accrual
Can I ‘opt-out’ of the 2006 Police Pension Scheme?
Yes, although this must be your personal choice. We advise you to take independent pension advice.
Will I still attract a pension abatement if I opt-out of the 2006 Police Pension Scheme and no longer make monthly pension contributions?
Your pension abatement is not affected if you opt-out of the 2006 Police Pension Scheme.
How is my monthly pension affected if I elect to join the SYP Returners Scheme?
On retirement, you will leave the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) and receive a tax-free retirement sum under PPS commutation provisions. In the time between retirement and re-engagement, your pension is paid as normal.
Participation in the Scheme will make your pension subject to partial abatement (reduction). However, when you retire from SYP on a second occasion, your original pension will be reinstated in full.
This arrangement will have no impact on the size of any possible survivor’s pension or on the size of a pension payable to your former spouse or civil partner under a pension sharing order.
Will SYP make a lump sum payment in the event of death in service?
Under the Returners Scheme, there is no provision for a Lump Sum Death Grant either within the Regulations or as a discretionary payment. Participants will however still be entitled to injury and death in the execution of duty gratuities.
What are the rules on injury awards, including awards for death as a result of an injury on duty?
Awards will be made as if you had at least 30 years’ service uninterrupted by retirement.