CAMBS: Public sector workers told they must pay for keep asking about possible pension pot
HUNDREDS of public sector workers across Cambridgeshire have besieged administrators with requests about their pension pots if they lose their jobs. So many are now asking – and sometimes even twice or three times a year- that individuals will now be char
HUNDREDS of public sector workers across Cambridgeshire have besieged administrators with requests about their pension pots if they lose their jobs.
So many are now asking - and sometimes even twice or three times a year- that individuals will now be charged if they ask more than once a year.
The county council's pensions committee- which looks after 136 individual employing organisations across Cambridgeshire- will now charge �50 or �100 to update the figures more than once a year.
A report to next week's pensions committee points out that many workers across the county- but mainly in Peterborough- will lose their jobs and more will follow in the months ahead.
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Allison Kew, head of pensions, said since last November the council had handled 243 requests from staff quizzing their final pension entitlements, and of these 150 had been received since January 1.
"Most of the requests are for redundancy at March 31," said Ms Kew. "Information currently available suggests that at least half of these estimates will turn into actual redundancies in the next few months with many at March 31, 2009."
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Ms Kew added: "The level of redundancies will put extreme pressure on the retirement from active function which normally deals with around 500 retirements over the course of the year."
She is also concerned because of possible job losses in the summer since "there has already been an indication that the level of school related redundancies at August 31 may be higher than normal".
The council says anyone over 50 being made redundant can claim their local government pension but many people worried about their jobs were regularly asking for a statement detailing their entitlements.
To prevent employees asking for this information more than once a year, the council is proposing to charge where staff ask more often for pension details.
"Discretion can be applied in particularly difficult circumstances," she added. However she hopes that by charging for additional estimates this will reduce multiple requests. Under the council's pensions policies employees are only legally entitled to one estimate per year.
Stephen Moir, director of people and policy for the county council, said the pensions service acts as the "host authority" for in excess of 136 employing organisations including five district councils, the police, fire service and Peterborough City Council.
"The increased estimates requested that are referred to in the report mainly relate to the major voluntary redundancy exercise that Peterborough City Council has entered into in accordance with their budget decisions," he said.
Only a handful of the requests for pension estimates related to county council workers, he said.