Penalised by promotion

11th June 2004 at 01:00
Advice for seasoned practitioners

As deputy head, you're asked to stand in for the head who is on long-term sick leave. It's within the terms of your conditions of service and it's what being a deputy means. You're fine with that, not least because the money will be welcome.

Time goes by, the head recovers and is clearly going to return. You have enough service in, so you take the opportunity to retire. What you're particularly pleased about is that your pension will be nicely bumped up because, thanks to your temporary promotion, you've been on considerably more money at the end of your service than you would have been had you stayed a deputy.

That, as they say, is what you think. What you've forgotten is that the pensions regulations are specifically written to put a brake on the state of affairs you're anticipating. They say, quite clearly, that if, in any of the last three years of your service, you have a pay increase (other than a general teachers' pay award) of more than 10 per cent - say four points on the leadership spine - then the extra amount will be disregarded for pension purposes.

You can see why it's done. It spikes the guns of any governing body that sets out to enhance the pension of a much-loved teacher or head by awarding a hefty twilight pay rise that has no other obvious purpose.

But it can't be right effectively to cap the pension of a promoted teacher, can it? Apparently it is, because the rule gives no leeway for genuine promotions. The deputy in our example has little option but to take on a responsibility which is within a deputy's conditions of service and is recognised on the salary scale. Where that's the case, it seems entirely unfair that the promoted colleague should get not just the salary but the benefits. Particularly as the rule doesn't apply if the promotion is to another local authority.

Clearly this is something to watch for, and if you're going to be caught in this particular offside trap, then you need to know in advance. The authority is advised to tell you if it applies.

The details are in a back issue of TP News, at www.teacherspensions.co.uktpnewstpnewspdfTPNEWS0203. Be warned: TP News is undergoing upgrades

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