Pensions

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Chidgey Lord Chidgey Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any arrangements are in place regarding maintenance of pension rights for NHS staff who volunteer for posts in Voluntary Service Overseas training programmes in conflict-affected and fragile states such as South Sudan.

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any assessment of the impact of any loss of pension rights on the level of volunteering by NHS staff to serve in Voluntary Service Overseas training programmes in conflict-affected and fragile states.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Any staff who volunteer for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) are eligible to maintain their access rights to the NHS Pension Scheme for England and Wales. This can be achieved by means of an overseas direction under Section 7(2) of the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1967, which means that staff retain membership of the scheme.

Alternatively, staff can receive additional pension credited on their return to the National Health Service, funded centrally to compensate them for NHS lost service while volunteering. There is therefore no reason why pension rights should be an issue in making a decision to volunteer for VSO.

The reason why the Government introduced the scheme to make good pensionable service forgone while working for VSO was in response to concerns that loss of pension rights may be an obstacle to volunteering.

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