Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Circular 35/2015 – Treatment of Temporary Promotions

Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007
New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007
 
Treatment of Temporary Promotions

 

Colleagues

The purpose of this Circular is to provide an update to the e-mail dated 24 February 2015, which informed members of amendments to the treatment of temporary promotions in respect of The Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 (FPS) and The New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 (NFPS).

Background to Temporary Promotions

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) introduced Amendment Orders in July 2014 in respect of the FPS and NFPS which changed the provision of pensionable pay to state that it related only to permanent emoluments of pay. This effectively meant that temporary promotions from 1 July 2014 were no longer to be included in final pensionable pay calculations.

As a result of the Amendment Orders, the Board had discretion to decide whether temporary promotions were to be treated as pensionable. The Board subsequently made a decision that with effect from 1 July 2014 temporary promotions would no longer be treated as pensionable in both the FPS and NFPS.

Whilst the Amendment Orders gave the Board discretion with regards to payments that were to be treated as pensionable, there appeared to be a contradiction within the NFPS Article 61(6), indicating that temporary promotions should be pensionable. NIFRS raised this contradiction with DHSSPS who investigated the matter with their Solicitor-s Office. The Departmental Solicitor-s Office advised that the recent Amendment Order to the NFPS dated July 2014 did not overrule Article 61(6). Therefore, temporary promotions in respect of the NFPS must remain as part of pensionable pay until this anomaly was addressed.

IFRS Board in January 2015 considered the future treatment of temporary promotions in light of the Departmental Solicitor-s Office advice. It was decided that temporary promotions in respect of the FPS should be treated as pensionable, however as an Additional Pension Benefit (APB) until the issue with the NFPS was resolved. It was also agreed that the NFPS should continue to be treated as pensionable pay in line with legislation.

At this juncture an e-mail, dated 24 February 2015, was issued to all Uniformed Personnel advising that in respect of the:

â?¢ NFPS (including the Modified Scheme from 1 April 2015) – any periods of temporary promotion from 1 July 2014 would be treated as pensionable pay in line with the New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 Article 61(6) until further notice.

â?¢ FPS – any periods of temporary promotion from 1 July 2014 would be treated as an Additional Pension Benefit in line with the Firefighters- Pension Scheme (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2014 Article 16(C).

The e-mail also advised that the legislative anomaly between the FPS and NFPS was subject to review and future revisions may well result.

Current Position

DHSSPS has advised NIFRS that an amendment has been drafted to revoke Article 61(6) from the New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.

How may you be affected in the future?

â?¢ If Article 61(6) is revoked, pensionable pay will only relate to permanent emoluments of pay. This effectively will mean that new periods of temporary promotions, from the date the Article 61(6) is revoked, will no longer be included in final pensionable pay calculations.

â?¢ The Board will have the discretion to decide whether temporary promotions are to be treated as pensionable (by means of an APB) in both the FPS and NFPS. A decision will be taken in this regard and implemented accordingly.

NIFRS will provide an update when more information becomes available.

 

Dale Ashford QFSM

Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer

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