View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a887771
NHS trust probed over nurses' pension deal
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust referred to The Pension Regulator over pay deal offering nurses higher salary for opting out of pension scheme.
The NHS Pensions Board has referred Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust to the Pension Regulator (TPR) over a pay deal which offered new nurses a higher salary if they opted out of the NHS pension scheme.
Despite originally approving the arrangement, TPR will now investigate the deal further, reports the Financial Times.
The NHS Pensions Board oversees the way NHS staff pensions are run. It began to look into the Oxleas Trust’s pension offer last month after the Financial Times reported concerns the deal was an inducement for staff to drop out of the pension scheme.
Under auto-enrolment rules employers are not allowed to offer staff higher pay as an incentive to opt-out of an auto-enrolment scheme.
According to the board the pay deal could be seen as an ‘inducement’ offer, and as such Oxleas has been referred to TPR.
Rachel Court, who chairs the NHS Pensions Board, told the Financial Times it had investigated the pension deal and concluded there were ‘reasonable grounds for considering its sole purpose to be to encourage staff to opt out of the NHS pension scheme in return for an additional salary payment.’
She added the board was concerned about ‘wider implications’ if other trusts offered similar pay deals.
However, Oxleas Trust said it would not change the pay deal it offered. Instead the trust said it would ‘liase with TPR for any updates in its advice.’
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