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28/7/2021
Author: Editorial
<div><p>If you’re expecting a new child into the family, it’s an exciting and busy time, so it’s easy to ignore your pension.&nbsp; But it’s important to know what you’re entitled to, and how your leave might affect your pension arrangements.</p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal"><strong>Maternity Leave</strong></span><br></p></div><div>You are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay if you:</div><div>• have worked for your employer for 26 weeks when you reach the 15th week before your due date, and&nbsp;</div><div>• earn at least £120 per week.</div><div><br></div><div>You’ll be entitled to 52 weeks off and receive Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks. For the first six weeks, you’ll get 90% of your average weekly earnings. For the next 33 weeks, you receive 90% of your weekly earnings, or £151.20 a week, whichever is lowest.&nbsp; The remaining 13 weeks are unpaid.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The earliest your paid maternity leave can start is the 11th week before your baby is due. If your baby is born early, your leave starts the day after the birth.</div><div><br></div><div>You don’t have to take the 52 weeks you’re entitled to, but you must take at least two weeks off work following the birth.</div><div><br></div><div><p><strong>Paternity Leave</strong></p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">Under the same rules as Statutory Maternity Pay, you are entitled to two weeks’ Statutory Paternity Pay. The weekly rate is £151.20 or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.</span><br></p></div><div><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal"><strong>Adoption Leave</strong></span></p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">If you’re adopting or having a child through surrogacy, you’re usually entitled to paid time off work. This is subject to the same rules and requirements (as above) for Maternity Pay and the pay structure is identical.&nbsp;</span><br></p></div><div><p>If you’re adopting as a couple, only one person can get adoption leave. The other might be able to get paternity leave or shared parental leave.</p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal"><strong>Shared Parental Leave&nbsp;</strong></span><br></p></div><div>Alternatively, you and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay. You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.</div><div><br></div><div><p><strong>Your pension during family leave&nbsp;</strong></p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">Your pension Scheme membership will be continuous while you are off, unless you have an agreement with your employer for this to be different.</span><br></p></div><div><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">Your pension contributions may change during family leave, because pension contributions are calculated using a percentage of your earnings.&nbsp;</span><br></div><div><br></div><div>If you don’t get any pay while on family leave, or if your pay reduces to nil, then your contributions will stop, but your employer may continue to pay them on your behalf. You may have to pay these back once you return to work.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>While you’re on family leave, your pension benefits won’t be affected (as long as you haven’t opted out and contributions are paid) and your overall benefits will still be based on your final average pay.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><p><strong>Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)&nbsp;</strong></p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">During your family leave, if you’re still earning enough to cover AVC contributions, then they will continue.&nbsp; But if you wish, you can change or stop these extra contributions while you’re receiving lower wages. You can easily do this if you log in to your myRPS account, go to the ‘My Pension’ section of your home page and click on ‘Funds’.&nbsp;</span><br></p></div><div><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal"><strong>Nominate your new family member&nbsp;</strong></span></p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">Once your new child has joined you, make sure he or she is looked after in the event of your death.</span><br></p></div><div><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">Your child (or all your children), could benefit from a tax-free, lump sum of money if you die before your pension is taken.&nbsp;</span><br></div><div><br></div><div><p>This will depend on the benefits you have built up in your pension plan and is not a fixed amount, but it could be a substantial sum. And it won’t cost you a penny!&nbsp;</p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">To make sure the money is paid in line with your wishes, it’s important to let us know where you would like this money to go. We then inform the Trustee.&nbsp;</span><br></p></div><div><p>If your circumstances change after you have completed your nomination, you can change your choice simply by updating your wishes in your online account.</p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">The easiest way to nominate is by logging in to your online pension account at railwayspensions.co.uk. You’ll find the nominations page in the ‘My Pension’ section of your account.</span><br></p></div><div><p>Find out more in the Read as you Need 'Guide to family leave' <a href="https://member.railwayspensions.co.uk/resources/read-as-you-need-guides" data-sf-ec-immutable="">here</a>.</p><p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: inherit; text-transform: inherit; white-space: inherit; word-spacing: normal">You can also contact your employer directly or visit the Government website <a href="https://www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/pregnancy-birth" target="_blank" data-sf-ec-immutable="">here</a>, where you can find more details on support if you’re expecting a new baby.&nbsp;</span></p></div>
Blog

Family leave and your pension

Maternity, paternity, or adoption leave pay, and how your pension can be affected.

If you’re expecting a new child into the family, it’s an exciting and busy time, so it’s easy to ignore your pension.  But it’s important to know what you’re entitled to, and how your leave might affect your pension arrangements.

Maternity Leave

You are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay if you:
• have worked for your employer for 26 weeks when you reach the 15th week before your due date, and 
• earn at least £120 per week.

You’ll be entitled to 52 weeks off and receive Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks. For the first six weeks, you’ll get 90% of your average weekly earnings. For the next 33 weeks, you receive 90% of your weekly earnings, or £151.20 a week, whichever is lowest.  The remaining 13 weeks are unpaid. 

The earliest your paid maternity leave can start is the 11th week before your baby is due. If your baby is born early, your leave starts the day after the birth.

You don’t have to take the 52 weeks you’re entitled to, but you must take at least two weeks off work following the birth.

Paternity Leave

Under the same rules as Statutory Maternity Pay, you are entitled to two weeks’ Statutory Paternity Pay. The weekly rate is £151.20 or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Adoption Leave

If you’re adopting or having a child through surrogacy, you’re usually entitled to paid time off work. This is subject to the same rules and requirements (as above) for Maternity Pay and the pay structure is identical. 

If you’re adopting as a couple, only one person can get adoption leave. The other might be able to get paternity leave or shared parental leave.

Shared Parental Leave 

Alternatively, you and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay. You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

Your pension during family leave 

Your pension Scheme membership will be continuous while you are off, unless you have an agreement with your employer for this to be different.

Your pension contributions may change during family leave, because pension contributions are calculated using a percentage of your earnings. 

If you don’t get any pay while on family leave, or if your pay reduces to nil, then your contributions will stop, but your employer may continue to pay them on your behalf. You may have to pay these back once you return to work. 

While you’re on family leave, your pension benefits won’t be affected (as long as you haven’t opted out and contributions are paid) and your overall benefits will still be based on your final average pay. 

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) 

During your family leave, if you’re still earning enough to cover AVC contributions, then they will continue.  But if you wish, you can change or stop these extra contributions while you’re receiving lower wages. You can easily do this if you log in to your myRPS account, go to the ‘My Pension’ section of your home page and click on ‘Funds’. 

Nominate your new family member 

Once your new child has joined you, make sure he or she is looked after in the event of your death.

Your child (or all your children), could benefit from a tax-free, lump sum of money if you die before your pension is taken. 

This will depend on the benefits you have built up in your pension plan and is not a fixed amount, but it could be a substantial sum. And it won’t cost you a penny! 

To make sure the money is paid in line with your wishes, it’s important to let us know where you would like this money to go. We then inform the Trustee. 

If your circumstances change after you have completed your nomination, you can change your choice simply by updating your wishes in your online account.

The easiest way to nominate is by logging in to your online pension account at railwayspensions.co.uk. You’ll find the nominations page in the ‘My Pension’ section of your account.

Find out more in the Read as you Need 'Guide to family leave' here.

You can also contact your employer directly or visit the Government website here, where you can find more details on support if you’re expecting a new baby.