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I'm looking for advice about leaving work and protecting a pension

(19 Posts)
sorcerersapprentic3 Tue 07-Mar-17 13:53:54

I've name changed to separate this from my posting history.

DH is due to retire in 2 years and would be entitled to an occupational pension. He has really been struggling with work recently and feels that he cant cope with the thought of going in everyday. I don't think it's his specific role as such, it seems more about the environment and culture,(the organisation has been externally criticised for bullying).

DH is frustrated at what he sees as unfair treatment, where he hasn't been able to apply for promotion because there isn't a process running, but he is aware that senior managers in other departments have been able to promote staff in their teams seemingly without a process. Yet DH feels unable to challenge this in the existing culture.

He has reached a point where work is have an serious impact upon his mental health and he feels that he can no longer go on. He has seen his GP who suggests that he isn't actually depressed - he just needs to change his job. I agree with this advice and I'm sure that he would be far happier working elsewhere.

The rub though - is his pension. If he were to leave now his pension would be frozen for the next 12 years, and while he doesn't object at all to working for that time, the thought of missing out on 10 years of pension payments is a major sticking point.

I'll be honest - I suppose I want him to have his cake and eat it. I want him to change job and be happy, but I also want him to receive the pension he is entitled to, and has contributed heavily towards. I expect that I'm being unreasonable - but can anyone offer any advice?

Thanks very much

daisychain01 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:52:05

If he is on a Final Salary or Vareer Average scheme then he needs to seriously consider the implications of leaving the company because they are gold plated benefit he wont get elsewhere.

He cant have his cake and eat it. If he leaves tge company the pension is frozen. Not sure how you think he can have the best of both worlds.

If his mental health is suffering in the workplave environment then that is serious and not worth sacrificing health and emotional welbeing for.

Can he take the long view , stick with what he has and try to up his skills in the particular area he has expertise in.?

daisychain01 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:52:17

Career

sorcerersapprentic3 Tue 07-Mar-17 17:22:17

Hi Daisy it's a final salary scheme. It's been adjusted downwards so that it is nowhere near as good as it was when he joined - but it remains a good scheme. That's why this is so difficult. Of course he should do what's best for his mental health, and as he is saying he just can't go back at all. I think he will do just that.

It's just so hard to walk away from 10 years of payments... but I can't see another option.

daisychain01 Tue 07-Mar-17 20:51:47

I can imagine what a terrible wrench it must be for him.

If he is only 2 years off retirement it isn't as bad as if he were in his 40s where he had 10-15 years still before normal retirement age. It's a shame he can't raise a grievance to try to resolve his current challenge, so the company takes the situation more seriously than they are currently?

Has he contacted his company pension dept to find out a bit more info - for example getting a projection of what that 10 years' of pensionable service equates to at retirement. Presumable he has other frozen schemes from previous years of employment?

Glossolalia Tue 07-Mar-17 21:05:41

Just to clarify, is it that if he stays it's 2 years and until he can retire but if he leaves the company he cannot access the pension for 12 years?

What is the scheme retirement age?

sorcerersapprentic3 Tue 07-Mar-17 21:44:13

It's a 30 year scheme. So yes, 2 years from normal retirement, but 12 if it's frozen. He's early 50's so as I say not bothered about working, he's happy to carry on and potentially do something different. It's more about not receiving what he has been paying in for.

I think I want him to put on a grievance but he doesn't think it'll go anywhere. That makes me angry too. He's so defeatist - it's not like him. And I think is evidence that his mental health is affected.

Am I just clutching at straws?

Glossolalia Tue 07-Mar-17 22:07:34

Is the same pension paid out in 2 years as it would be in 12 years?

If he worked part time (should it be possible) would that affect his pension entitlement?

Just thinking he could work part time and then do something else.

I note that the GP is saying that he isn't depressed but is there work related stress? Would some time away from work improve his opinion?

daisychain01 Wed 08-Mar-17 03:37:11

It can help to clear his mind and regain a sense of control to be signed off for a period by his GP. Even 2 weeks is helpful.

flowery Wed 08-Mar-17 08:52:01

"I want him to change job and be happy, but I also want him to receive the pension he is entitled to, and has contributed heavily towards. I expect that I'm being unreasonable - but can anyone offer any advice?"

Well you're not being unreasonable wishing he could do that, as long as you understand it isn't possible. He isn't entitled to the pension in that form unless he stays there, so he needs to make a decision about what to do next based on that information.

I agree with Daisy, a couple of weeks signed off should give him an opportunity to clear his head a bit, have discussions with you, do some proper calculations.

But for me, ultimately surely his health and happiness are the most important thing. So if those would be damaged by sticking around for 2 years just for a bit of extra money, for me that would be a price not worth paying. Life is very short!

loaferloveforyou Wed 08-Mar-17 20:36:36

He will still be entitled to the pension he has built up until now. With final salary pensions it will be based on the number of years he was a member of the scheme and his salary when leaving (may not be the exact salary - could be an average of the last 3/5/10 years or the best salary in the last 3/5/10 for example depending on the scheme rules). Some schemes will allow early retirement from active service at 55 with no reduction, some will reduce the pension if they take it before the "scheme pension age".

Might be worth asking the scheme what will happen, or asking for a scheme booklet to help you decide.

But he will be entitled to something whether it's in 2 years or 12.

Is this a police or firefighters scheme by any chance?

llhj Wed 08-Mar-17 20:41:17

So what you're saying is that if he stays another 2 years he can access his pension straight away but if he leaves now, he can't access it for 10 years. Are you sure as that doesn't sound right?

loaferloveforyou Wed 08-Mar-17 20:52:19

Some schemes do allow access to pensions earlier for active members than members who have left. It's quite common.

sorcerersapprentic3 Wed 08-Mar-17 21:10:41

Thanks - some good advice here. I do recognise that I am not being completely rational about this grin it's the proverbial rock and a hard place.
He is going to take 2 weeks to think about it, and try to get a calculation to help make the decision.

Obviously he would only get 28/30 of his pension, if he left now, but that's not the concern - its delaying it for another 10 years.

loaf wink

Glossolalia Wed 08-Mar-17 21:13:08

Glad he is taking two weeks, OP.

EnormousTiger Wed 08-Mar-17 21:36:54

My view is he should struggle on for the two years. Employers love it when people leave earlier before retirement as it saves them a fortune. Don't give them the statisfaction. Could he get some therapy on how to deal with the bullying and cheer himself up a bit that way just to get it through the next 2 years.

flowery Wed 08-Mar-17 22:05:23

"Employers love it when people leave earlier before retirement as it saves them a fortune. Don't give them the statisfaction."

Not wanting to give his employer the satisfaction is a completely ridiculous reason for sticking around, and even more so where health and happiness are at stake.

loaferloveforyou Thu 09-Mar-17 00:33:33

Ahhh gotcha winkcheck the scheme carefully then.

He can still take it at 55 (although reduced) but if he is still planning on working he may not need to for 12 years. Even if it was 7 years time the reduction wouldn't be as much as if he left now and took it at 55 anyway.

sorcerersapprentic3 Thu 09-Mar-17 10:15:46

Thanks Loafer, that puts a different perspective which is really helpful.

If he mentally "parks" his pension and does something else, looking to take it when he wants to - and if he is happier, then that could be later, not sooner - it sounds more optimistic.

I'm not underestimating the implications, but at least that makes the decision to leave - and I think it would be better for his health if he did leave - a more positive one.

Thanks again for your help

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