Strike action and your pension
If you are on strike, your LGPS pension will be affected. Your LGPS pension is based on your pay, and your pay will reduce if you are on strike. You can pay extra contributions to buy back the pension you ‘lose’.
Read the FAQs below to find out more about how your pension could be affected if you are on strike. The FAQs cover the impact of strike action on your pension including any final salary benefits, how to arrange to buy back the ‘lost’ pension and what happens to any additional pension contributions that you are already paying when you go on strike.
Frequently asked questions about Strike action and your pension
The LGPS pension you build up is based on your pay. If you are on strike, your pay will be lower. The pension you build up will be lower than it would have been if you had been at work. We call the difference the pension you have ‘lost’. How much pension you lose depends on how much pay you lose and which section of the Scheme you are in.
If you are in the main section of the Scheme, your ‘lost’ pension is 1/49th of the pay you lose during strike action.
If you are in the 50/50 section of the Scheme, your ‘lost’ pension is 1/98th of the pay you lose during strike action.
Going on strike could have a small effect on your final salary benefits.
Any benefits you built up in the LGPS before 1 April 2014 are final salary benefits. Your final salary benefits are worked out using your final pay. Final pay is generally your pay in your final year, but pay from one of the two previous years can be used if it is higher.
If you stay a member of the LGPS for three years after taking strike action, your final salary benefits will not be affected.
If you leave the LGPS less than three years after taking strike action, this could affect the final pay used to work out your final salary benefits. Your employer will not include pay from strike days when they work out your final pay. Your final pay will be based on your pay for the days you were not on strike, scaled up to a full year figure.
If you joined the LGPS before 1 October 2006, you may be protected by the 85 year rule. If you take strike action, this could make the date you satisfy the 85 year rule later. Find out more about the 85 year rule.
Yes, you can pay additional pension contributions to buy back the pension you ‘lost’ when you were on strike. You can pay by lump sum or regular payments. If you are over your Normal Pension Age, within a year of your Normal Pension Age, or if the amount you have to pay is very small, you can only pay by lump sum.
You will need to find out from your employer how much pay you lost when you were on strike. You can then use the Buy lost pension calculator to find out the cost of buying the pension you have lost.
Your employer does not have to pay any of the additional pension contributions to buy back the pension you lose when you are on strike. Your employer could choose to pay part of the cost.
The extra pension you buy by paying additional pension contributions is very similar to the LGPS pension you are building up, but there are some differences:
- The additional pension is for you only. You do not buy any additional survivor pension that would be paid to your dependants after you die.
- If you are made redundant when you are over age 55 (or age 57 from 2028), your main LGPS pension will be paid immediately. It will not be reduced, even if you are under your Normal Pension Age. Any additional pension you have bought would be reduced if you retire early.
If I pay additional pension contributions to cover a strike break, how are my final salary benefits affected?
If you pay additional pension contributions to buy back the pension you ‘lost’ when you were on strike, your final pay is not affected. Your final pay is the same as it would have been if you had not been on strike.
If you pay additional pension contributions to buy back the pension you ‘lost’ when you were on strike, your 85 year rule protection is not affected. Your protection is the same as it would have been if you had not been on strike.
Members generally need at least two years of LGPS membership to qualify for benefits in the Scheme. Any days that you are on strike will count towards the two years that you need. If you leave with less than two years of membership, you may be able to take a refund of the contributions that you have paid.
However, the days that you are on strike may not count towards the two year qualifying period for statutory benefits such as redundancy. If you have been in your job for less than two years, check with your employer how going on strike could affect your right to statutory benefits.
If you are already paying extra pension contributions when you go on strike, different rules apply depending on what type of extra contributions you are paying. In some cases, your employer may need to take extra contributions from your pay when you return to work.
The rules that apply if you are paying extra contributions and you are absent from work are covered in the section How could my LGPS benefits be affected if I am off work?