Since the principal regulations were made in 2015 there have been a few amendments to the treatment of contributions after a period of authorised unpaid absence. At first, employers had to provide details of the lost pensionable pay to a member and they then could buy an APC to cover the lost pension for this period. The regulations were later amended to state that contributions were automatically payable for the first 30 consecutive days of this type of absence. This meant that there was no lost pension for the first 30 days and no need for an APC where the absence was for less than 31 consecutive days. Employers needed to include the relevant APP in the CARE totals provided in year-end annual returns.
Since 18 April 2022, the rules changed again to say that contributions are only automatically paid for absences of 30 consecutive days or less. If the absence continues beyond 30 consecutive days then no contributions are due for the entire absence period and an APC will be needed if the member wishes to cover the entire period of absence (including the first 30 days).
There are no changes to other types of absence (i.e. unauthorised absence, relevant child-related leave, strike, reserve forces leave, or absence due to illness or injury) apart from an expansion of the definition of ‘child-related leave’ to include parental bereavement leave.
30 Day Rule FAQs
Both employee and employer contributions are payable for the first 30 continuous days of absence. However, if the absence continues beyond 30 days, then no contributions are payable, including for the first 30 days.
You no longer need to send LGS34 or LGS35 for authorised unpaid absences that are for less than 31 consecutive days. This is because contributions are due, and APP will apply during this period (and will be included in the year end CARE totals) so that there isn’t a reduction in pension savings.
NILGOSC does not require this breakdown on the LGS6 as pensionable pay (including APP) and employee contributions are the responsibility of the employer. You should ensure your processes are updated so that CARE totals in your annual return include any APP relating to this type of absence.
You may need to apply manual calculations and overrides. You will need to ensure that your manual adjustments to contributions are included in your annual return. Additionally, you will need to ensure that your manual calculation of the APP built up during this period is also included in your annual return CARE totals.
Where contributions are payable for the first 30 days of continuous absence there is no reduction in the member’s pension savings. You will need to update your processes to make sure that for absences of less than 30 consecutive days that the CARE totals in your annual return submission include appropriate APP amounts in relation to these absences. Where there is a continuous absence of more than 30 days, no contributions are payable and you may need to retrospectively adjust if you have included APP and contributions for the first 30 days but the absence is extended.
The regulations do not stipulate a minimum period of absence, they just say that contributions are now due for the first 30 consecutive days of a period of authorised unpaid absence. If your employee is late in to work one day, do they lose an hour’s pay or are they paid for that hour and they must make up the lost time throughout the rest of the week? If it is unpaid, is this treated as authorised or unauthorised? If it is treated as unauthorised unpaid absence, then no contributions are payable.
If an employee goes onto unpaid additional maternity leave (or similar unpaid family leave) which is consecutive following a period of approved absence no contributions are due even for the first 30 days of the absence, where the absence has extended beyond 30 days.