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The 2015 Scheme is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (“CARE”) pension scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2015. It is open to firefighters who took up employment on or after 1 April 2015, and whose role includes:

  • resolving operational incidents; or
  • leading and supporting others in the resolution of such incidents; and
  • firefighters who are transition members.

Retirement options

Guides and factsheets

Frequently Asked Questions - Pension

How much pension will I get?

For every year that you work, you will earn 1/59.7th of your pay to be put into your pension account. So for instance if you earn £30,000, you will earn £503 in pension every year. This will be uprated in line with average weekly earnings, which is forecast to run at over twice the rate of inflation in the long term.

What is the maximum pension that I can earn?

There is no cap on the amount of pension that you can earn in the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015. If you transfer across from the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992, you will not be limited to only 30 years service and will continue to earn pension for every year you remain in employment.

Frequently Asked Questions - Retirement

Why do these regulations not set the Normal Pension Age for the scheme?

The Public Service Pensions Act 2013, which gained Royal Assent on 25 April 2013, already set the Normal Pension Age for the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015 at age 60.

If I retire before my Normal Pension Age, will my pension be reduced?

Yes, if taken before Normal Pension Age, your 2015 pension will be reduced to reflect the fact that it will be in payment for longer and is therefore more expensive to provide. Any 1992 scheme pension that you earned before you transfer into the 2015 scheme will not be reduced.

Why was the offer on enhanced early retirement arrangements to age 55 withdrawn?

The Government offered to change its final proposal on the basis that it addressed concerns raised by the Fire Brigades Union. The union was aware that continued industrial action would be taken as a rejection of the offer. Final decisions needed to be taken on the regulations for consultation and the valuation of the scheme and the FBU were not prepared to agree the change to the Proposed Final Agreement.

By withdrawing the offer no money has been taken out of the scheme and you will now earn more pension for each year that you are in service. More generous early retirement arrangements will still apply for firefighters who retire from age 57 than currently apply in the 2006 scheme as the reduction is calculated by less years. This is as a result of the constructive discussions that took place leading up to the Proposed Final Agreement.

If I retire after my Normal Pension Age, will my pension be increased?

Yes, not only will you earn more pension for each year that you pay contributions after Normal Pension Age, your total pension will also be increased to reflect the fact that it is being taken later. The proposal is to pay an extra annual contribution into your pension account for each year or part year you work beyond the scheme’s Normal Pension Age.

Can I take my pension and continue in employment?

The 2015 scheme will allow a firefighter to take their 2015 scheme pension from age 55 without needing to retire, this is called partial retirement. However, the 1992 and 2006 schemes require a member to fully retire in order to be able to claim those benefits.

What happens if I lose my fitness after age 55?

The 2015 scheme makes no changes to fitness or capability tests or regimes, which are a matter for employers. In the same way as the current 1992 and 2006 schemes, if it is determined that you are permanently unable, due to a medical condition, to undertake the role of a firefighter you will be given ill‐health retirement. If there is no medical reason to prevent you regaining your fitness, you will be given the opportunity to regain your fitness and the great majority of firefighters are able to do so.

A consultation on fitness and capability issues concluded recently and a Government response will be published in due course. This builds on the roundtable discussion that Brandon Lewis MP held on 4 December and which included the fire service unions, employers and other representative bodies. As no one will work beyond their current Normal Pension Age until 2022 at the earliest, there will be sufficient time for the fitness principles to work and the Minister has agreed to review their operation within 3 years.

Where is the capability clause in the regulations that I have heard about?

There has not ever been any proposal to introduce a ‘capability clause’.

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