If my pay is reduced, what impact will this have on my pension?

This will depend on the reason for the reduction:

Sick leave
If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay.
You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

Authorised unpaid leave

If your employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made to cover the period of the absence. This mean your pension builds up as normal.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only.  After this you will not build up any pension for the period unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of pension lost.
If you choose to pay APCs to purchase the amount of pension lost and you make your election to do this within 30 days of returning to work, the cost will be split between you and your employer.
Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Coronavirus job retention scheme
If your employer is able to use the job retention scheme and you both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

If this applies to you, your employer could pay 80% of your wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500. The Government will fund your employer to do this, however its contributions to wages for hours not worked will decrease from July 2021 through to September 2021. Employers can choose to top up your pay to 100%, but if you receive less pay when you are ‘on furlough’, the amount of pension you build up during this period will also be reduced. You will continue to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to close on 31 October 2020 but was extended until 30 April 2021 and then further extended to 30 September 2021.  You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension lost during this period. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost, but they can choose to.  NILGOSC will waive the requirement for a Good Health Medical if the reason for buying additional pension is because you were on furlough.

Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.


Emergency Volunteering Leave (EVL)
The Government has introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.
If you take a period of EVL, your LGPS pension benefits will build up in the same way as if you were working normally.
You will only pay contributions on any actual pay your employer pays you during the period.

Other reasons
For information about the impact on your pension if you are away from work for any other reason, such as child related leave or reserve forces leave, please visit our Absences Page.