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09 Dec 2015

Firefighters win the pensions payout battle

In what the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called a “significant legal victory,” firefighters in the UK have won an ongoing dispute with the government about receiving pension payouts far less than what they had been contributing towards, The Guardian reports.

A controversial government policy meant that numerous members of the FBU had to pay into their pensions for 32 years, only to receive a 30-year pension. The FBU lodged a legal challenge against the legislation, but before a decision could be reached in court the government has recently decided to concede the case.

The scheme had an ‘accrual cap´ of 30 years´ service, meaning that no more money could be earned after that point. Yet the earliest age a person could receive this pay-out was 50, meaning that members of the scheme who had joined at the age of 18 or 19 were effectively having to work for 32 years in order to receive it.

It has now been confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that members under the age of 50 who have accrued 30 years´ service can take a ‘contributions holiday´ from the 30-year mark until their 50th birthday.

Even better, the proposal will be retrospectively applied to 1 December 2006 – the date the FBU claims is when such age discrimination became illegal. This means that a number of firefighters are set to receive thousands of pounds in backdated pension money.

Commenting on the news, a spokesperson from the DCLG confirmed that “the government will be working with fire service unions and employers to finalise the pension arrangements for the relatively small number of firefighters who joined the service before the age of 20 and served for over 30 years.”

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2015

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