Changes to the Isle of Man Government Unified Scheme (GUS)
The Joint trade unions including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have been engaged in detailed discussions with the Public Sector Pensions Authority (PSPA) over the Isle of Man Government Unified Scheme (GUS) and changes to protect its future.
The Tynwald has now agreed proposals to amend the future benefit structure in GUS from 1 April, 2017. The changes are as follows:
- a reduction in future pension benefits of 6% from 1 April, 2017 (scheme members will still build up 94% of what they do now) - this applies only to benefits built up after 1 April, 2017;
- a phased increase of 2.5% in employee pension contributions for all scheme members from 1 April, 2018.
During the week commencing 13 March, 2017, we will be posting out a ballot form to RCN members on the Isle of Man asking you to indicate whether you agree with proposed changes to the GUS. Completed forms must be returned to the RCN in the provided pre-paid envelope by noon on Friday 24 March, 2017.
Whilst the RCN appreciates that any changes to pensions cause anxiety amongst its members, these proposals are a considerable improvement on what was originally facing the joint trade unions at the beginning of the process and have come as a result of direct and meaningful engagement with the employers, the PSPA and Members of the House of Keys.
The RCN’s negotiator during this process believes that this option is the best that can be achieved through negotiation. The evidence shows that the scheme needed to be changed in order to remain viable for the future. This is a better ‘package’ than was available at the start in 2014 and through the cost sharing arrangements (agreed in principle in 2012) ensures that future scheme costs will be shared appropriately in the future between scheme members and employers.
There are no other changes to ‘member benefits’ or retirement ages. Whatever you have built up to 31 March, 2017 is fully protected. Additionally, the GUS scheme will remain open to all.
Members who chose to pay an additional 2.5% contribution for ‘protection’ in 2012 – and who continue to do this under the new arrangements - will still get this protection subject to a reduction of 6% for future pension build up. Correspondence from PSPA (November 30 2016) confirms:
- ‘Protection continues for pre-GUS benefits.
- Protection continues for future benefits albeit via an additional 2.5% contribution which applies to both Protected and non-protected members.
- If future service benefits are reduced by 6%, which is part of the cost saving proposal being considered by unions, then by virtue of the Protection, protected members will still earn higher benefits than non-protected members albeit their future service pensions will be 6% lower, as will the benefits for non-protected members’).
Following full consideration of the package, it has been endorsed by the RCN Isle of Man branch at its meeting on 8 March, 2017.
Help and advice
If you should have any concerns about the scheme and the proposed changes then it is suggested that you seek independent financial advice. More information on the GUS can be found on the PSPA website here
If you have any professional or workplace concerns then please contact our team of specialists at RCN Direct who can offer advice and guidance on an array of clinical and professional issues. Fully trained advisers are available to answer your queries from 8.30am to 8.30pm, 365 days a year. They can be contacted on 0345 772 1600.