The first phase of the remedy is to make changes to the scheme regulations, in line with the Public Service Pensions & Judicial Offices Bill, which will close the legacy pension schemes to future accrual from 31 March 2022 and ensure all members who remain in service from 1 April 2022 do so as members of the reformed scheme (“the 2015 Scheme”). This will ensure future equal treatment going forwards.
These changes are part of the package of measures the government is undertaking to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the way that the 2015 reforms were introduced for some members. Further information can be found in the Department of Finance’s response to the public consultation https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/response-consultation-proposed-changes-transitional-arrangements-2015-schemes.
This targeted consultation on the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme seeks responses from interested parties on the amendments to the regulations needed to enact the first phase of the remedy, as set out in the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill. The intention is that these come into force on 1 April 2022. It also outlines the policy proposals on other minor amendments to the NI Firefighters’ Pension Schemes to align with similar changes which have been introduced to Firefighters pensions in GB.
A further consultation on amendments to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme to implement the second phase of the remedy will follow in 2022. This will focus on implementing members having a choice of benefits for the period which the remedy for age discrimination applies: 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022.