Until these regulations were laid members of the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) 1987 and the New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS) 2006 were only able to buy-back periods of unpaid maternity leave and unpaid parental leave for pension purposes i.e. to count as periods of pensionable service.

Following extensive representations from PFEW, the pension regulations have now been amended to also provide for the buy-back for pension purposes of periods of the following types of unpaid family leave in the PPS 1987 and the NPPS 2006:

  • Unpaid adoption leave
  • Unpaid ordinary adoption support leave
  • Unpaid additional adoption support leave
  • Unpaid ordinary maternity support leave
  • Unpaid additional maternity support leave

The provisions are retrospective and so they apply to any of the above types of unpaid family leave taken on or after 1st September 2014.

NB. Members of the Police Pension Scheme 2015 (the CARE 2015 Scheme) are already able to buy back all these types of unpaid family leave.

A member who wishes to buy-back a period (or periods) of unpaid family leave for pension purposes must notify the police pension authority in writing.

The member will be required to pay an amount equal to the amount of pension contributions which would have been paid had the period of unpaid leave not been taken. This is based on the member’s pensionable pay (including any statutory adoption pay or statutory paternity pay) immediately before the start of the unpaid leave which is being bought back.

As the new provisions are retrospective, members have been given up to and including 21 August 2018 to elect to buy-back for pension purposes periods of unpaid family leave taken on or after 1 September 2014.

Although PFEW was pleased that these new provisions had been made, we believed that they should extend back in time further than the date in the new Regulations (1 September 2014).

Specifically, PFEW considered that not allowing members (predominantly men) to buy-back periods of unpaid maternity support leave for pension purposes to the same extent that members (exclusively women) who took maternity leave were permitted to buy-back periods of unpaid maternity leave for pension purposes amounted to indirect sex discrimination.

Following representations from PFEW on this point the Home Office has agreed to amend the Police Pension Schemes and Additional Voluntary Contributions (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2018 to enable officers who have taken maternity support leave from 3 April 2011 to buy back that leave for pension purposes. The Home Office’s intention is to make the amendment by February 2019 subject to parliamentary time/procedure.

Therefore it is recommended that members who wish to buy-back for pension purposes a period (or periods) of unpaid ordinary or additional maternity support leave which was taken from 3 April 2011 until 1 September 2014 should also make a written election to the force to buy back this unpaid leave by 21 August 2018.