Pay and pensions issues

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Rep Zone
03 November 2016
Couple with bills
Some commonly posed queries by members dealing with this element of being an ATL rep.

Threshold refusal issues

A member has been told their application to cross the threshold has been unsuccessful. As rep, how should I advise the member?

The member should have been given the reasons for refusal in writing. You should discuss these with the member to see if he or she believes the reasons for refusal are reasonable. If they are then the member may wish to ask for guidance as to what action he or she needs to undertake to ensure his or her next application is successful.

If the member does not agree with the reasons for refusal, you should check the school's appeals policy. There may be a time-limit on making the appeal. You may wish to help the member collate the evidence to show he or she has met the relevant standards and addresses the reasons for the initial refusal.

Refusal should not be made on the grounds of cost.

A member has been told that he cannot apply to 'cross the threshold'. As rep, what should I do?

All qualified teachers working in a school can apply to cross the threshold when they think they have attained the required standard. There is no requirement to be at the top of the main pay range to apply.

You should check the school pay policy for the application procedure to ensure the teacher has met any local conditions such as timescale for applying.

A member has been unsuccessful in their appeal against their threshold refusal. Is there anything we can do?

Unfortunately, once a member has exhausted the appeal process as set down in the school's pay policy there is no further course for redress. The member should seek advice from the headteacher/appraiser as to what action is required to try and ensure a future application is successful.

When can the member next apply?

Teachers can only make one application per academic year to cross the threshold.

Pensions contribution rates

How much does the employer pay into the Teachers' Pension Scheme?

Currently employers pay 14.1% of a teachers' salary as pension contribution.

How are contributions calculated for part-time teachers?

Part-time teachers will pay a contribution based on their full-time equivalent salary. For example, a teacher working 0.5 who has gross pay of £25,000 will have a full-time equivalent salary of £50,000 and so pay 11.0% of their earnings (£25,000) in pension contributions.

One of my ATL members has asked if it is possible to have a refund of his contributions.

If the member has less than two years' service in the TPS, he can ask for a refund of contributions. ATL recommends that teachers consider taking a refund carefully as, if they ever return to teaching, it is more expensive to purchase equivalent service.

As pension contributions attract tax relief members will receive less back than they paid in as they will have to pay the tax that was due.

How much do teachers have to pay into the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS)?

Contributions to the TPS depend on the member's gross full-time equivalent salary (ie that is before any deductions). The contribution rates from 1 April 2014 are:

Pensions contribution rates (LGPS)

How much do staff have to pay into the Local Government Pension Scheme?

The proposed member contribution from April 2014 is as follows.

Can members reduce their contributions?

Members of the LGPS can elect to reduce their contribution by 50%. This will reduce the benefits they receive at retirement by 50%.

How are contributions calculated for part-timers?

Part-time members of the LGPS have their pension contribution based on their actual salary.

Can members get refunds of contributions?

If members have less than two years' service in the Local Government Pension Scheme, they can ask for a refund of contributions.

For further assistance with pension-related queries, members can seek advice from ATL's pension advisors, tel: 020 7782 1600.