I’m in receipt of a public sector pension and returning to work due to Covid-19. Does this affect my pension already in payment?

Last updated: 03 Jun 2020

Ordinarily the public sector pension schemes enforce a policy called abatement.  Abatement is a check on your earnings after taking your pension which can result in a reduction or suspension of your pension.

Generally, abatement may apply if you take a pension from a public sector scheme and subsequently take a job with an organisation that is covered by the same public sector pension arrangement as you retired from. For example, if you worked in a government department and was a member of the Civil Service Pension Scheme, if after taking your pension you decide to return to employment and your employer offers membership of the Civil Service Pension Scheme, abatement may apply. It is important to note that abatement applies irrespective of whether you join the pension scheme, it is your eligibility to join the scheme that is the deciding factor.

If you are in a situation where abatement applies, the general rule is that you may not earn more, by way of ‘re-employed’ salary and pension, than you were earning before you retired. For those who abatement applies to, it can result in a reduction or complete cessation of a pension.

During the current pandemic, there is a demand for former public sector workers to return to employment to help the government continue to provide critical public services. The government announced on 22 April 2020 that where public sector workers return to employment to support the government’s response to Covid-19, abatement will not apply. Initially this relaxation applied in respect of payments made to individuals in the period from 1 March to 1 June 2020 but this has now been extended up to 1 November 2020.

If you are in receipt of your pension and are re-employed in the public sector to support the government’s response to covid-19 and wish to know if abatement will apply, your pension scheme administrator will be able to confirm this for you.