UK - Union leaders are giving a cautious welcome to major changes in the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
New proposals will change the scheme’s accrual rate from the basis of 1/80th to 1/60th. But the National Union of Teachers remains fiercely opposed to plans which will raise the retirement age from 60 to 65.
The proposed changes follow a review by the department for education and skills to identify ways to give members greater choice while ensuring the long-term affordability of the scheme.
In addition to more favourable accrual rates, the proposals also include giving teachers the option of drawing part of their pension while working part-time and allowing members to increase contributions if they wish.
The DES is consulting with teachers, lecturers and employers on the changes.
Schools standards minister David Miliband said he hoped the changes would make the scheme more attractive to staff.
He said: “We are looking to make changes in a way that finds the right balance between ensuring the long-term viability of the scheme and providing increased choice and flexibility over the ways in which teachers can plan ahead for retirement.
“I am committed to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme remaining a valuable part of teachers’ and lecturers’ remuneration package.”
Benefits earned by existing members before 2013 will not be affected by the changes, which will apply to new members from 2006. The minimum age from which benefits can be taken will also rise from 50 to 55, although this will not apply to existing members until 2010.
Teaching unions will meet later this month to discuss how best to advise members to respond to the consultation.
NUT head of salaries and superannuation Barry Fawcett said: “As the proposals stand, we welcome the chance to move to 1/60th of annual salary, which is something we have been seeking for a long time.
“The biggest issue for the unions, however, remains our opposition to the increase of normal pension age in public service schemes from 60 to 65, and we will continue to battle against it.”
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