Pension fights

30th May 1997 at 01:00
Since 1976, supply teachers such as myself, and most categories of part-time teachers, have been able to join the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme, provided we elect to participate.

When the Teachers' Pensions Department has considered the election we are informed of the date from which it is valid. This is likely to be at least two or three months after applying to join.

If an employer failed to provide the information about these arrangements immediately, or it was overlooked in all the paperwork presented to a new part-timer, there would be a considerable delay. The delay causes a period of exclusion from the scheme.

Many part-time employees previously excluded from occupational pension schemes are now gaining pension rights equivalent to those for full-timers, in line with a decision taken by the European Court of Justice. What is more, they have a right to make retrospective pension contributions from 1976.

Unfortunately, the pension rights of supply and part-time teachers have not kept apace with these developments. I have been informed by a local education authority that the old rules still apply about the date, if any, when the election to the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme becomes valid. At present, it is not possible to have a retrospective alteration to this date.

PAT SWAIN

122 Juniper

Bracknell, Berkshire

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