Who should pay for the NHS pension employer’s contribution?

The statutory NHS Pension Scheme Regulations and section 49 of the Pensions Act 1995 states that the employer has to pay the employer's contribution if you're contributing to the NHS superannuation scheme.

See also | NHS Pension Scheme : Direction Body Administration Guide

Legal obligations

Failure to remit contributions to the Scheme, complete relevant paperwork, update member pension records, or deny employees access to the Scheme constitutes a breach of the statutory NHS Pension Scheme Regulations and section 49 of the Pensions Act 1995. Section 48 of the Pensions Act 1995 and section 70 of the Pensions Act 2004 states that NHS Pensions has a legal duty to report any ‘breaches of law’ to the Pensions Regulator. If an individual is found guilty of a ‘breach of law’ they may be subject to a heavy fine, imprisonment, or both.

And also, according to the BMA, if that practice is a GMS practice it is also acting in breach of the statutory GMS SFE (Statement of Financial Entitlement. The SFE has penalty clauses including giving the PCO powers to withhold monies it pays to the practice if any part of the SFE has not been complied with.

So from April 2013, in England and Wales, since funding is provided for all superannuation contributions, including those of GP locums, it is now the responsibility of practices in England and Wales to pay the employer’s contribution for locums.

If a practice therefore refuses to pay, the NHS Pensions Division, the Pensions Division can withhold monies from a GP Provider’s pension benefits if they decide they have been acting illegally.

Section 48 of the 1995 Pensions Act and section 70 of the 2004 Pensions Act states that the NHS Pensions Division has a legal duty to report any 'breaches of pensions law’ to the Pensions Regulator. If an individual is found guilty of a breach they may be subject to a heavy fine of up to £50,000.00 per offence.

The NHS Pensions Division also have a duty to inform the Business Services Authority, at NHS Counter Fraud Services, if they believe that fraud may have taken place in the NHS. NHS Counter Fraud has already investigated several Practices who are allegedly breaking the law.

Has a practice refused to pay you your employer's contribution?

Forward the url of this page to that practice to inform them - they probably weren't aware. Or copy/paste it into your next invoice.

Exclusive advice from NHSPA

If you are an employed sessional GP (an assistant, retainer, or salaried) working for an organisation that qualifies as a NHS Pension Scheme Employing Authority (GP Practice, CCG, LHB, etc) your employer must, in law, ensure your employment is pensionable. If you are a self-employed freelance GP locum working in the NHS you have been entitled to ‘pension’ your income since April 1st 2001. Your scheme membership is ‘triggered’ by completing (and submitting) forms A and B.

If you are a freelance GP Locum working for an agency (or a commercial deputising agency) or have set yourself up as a limited company you fall outside of the NHS Pension Scheme and cannot ‘pension’ your NHS income; you should therefore consider alternative pension arrangements.

Once you’re paying regular Scheme contributions into the Scheme, keep an eye out in your bank statements to ensure your cheques have been cashed as not all authorities send monthly statements.

Meanwhile, for locum GPs, practices are responsible for paying the 14.38% employer’s contribution (which is actually 12.6% of the bill, allowing for 10% of the locum income being classed as “professional expenses” and not being pensionable – as is the case at the moment).

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