NEWS • VIEWS • INFORMATION • ADVICE
Pensions changes made for early retirees
Changes have been made to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) for those teachers who decide to take early retirement.
If you are thinking of retiring early, which you can do at any age from 55 onwards under the TPS, you should be aware that your pension will be actuarially reduced to take account of its earlier payment.
A new set of early retirement factors were introduced for all actuarially reduced benefits payable on or after 1 July 2011.
The new actuarial adjustment factors mean that the reduction in the early retirement pension (and lump sum if applicable) will be marginally less under the benefits of the main TPS in England and Wales. Different factors will apply for any additional pension, depending on the date it was purchased.
The same changes are being introduced for teachers’ pensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Further details can be found at: www.nasuwt.org.uk/RetiringEarly and teachers considering taking actuarially reduced benefits can calculate their reduced pension and lump sum by using the calculator on the TPS website at: www.teacherspensions.co.uk/resources/arb_calculator.htm.
Members should continue to use their own judgement about actuarially reduced benefits and are advised to seek independent financial advice before taking early retirement or purchasing additional pension benefits.
RISE IN TEACHER SUICIDE RATE
A spike in the number of teachers committing suicide has increased concerns about the wellbeing of the profession.
The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there was an 80% increase in the number of teachers taking their own lives between 2008 and 2009. Instances of suicide among teachers are now 30-40% higher than the national average.
While the increase in the suicide rate cannot be definitively attributed to the strain of teaching, research conducted by the NASUWT into the mental health of teachers found that the current teaching climate results in high levels of stress, physiological problems and poor physical health.
The independent study, which was based on in-depth interviews with teachers and school leaders, found that increasing pressure from the accountability regime, coupled with the pace of Government innovation and reform was leading to increased incidence of mental ill health and breakdowns. Work-related stress, workplace bullying and exhaustion were commonly cited issues where teachers and school leaders had experienced serious mental health issues.
Teacher Support Network, which provides emotional and practical support to teachers and their families, has also reported a significant increase in the number of teachers contacting it to report suicidal feelings. Between June 2010 and June 2011 it dealt with 41 cases, compared to 11 for the previous year.
The NASUWT has consistently raised the importance of teacher wellbeing and the threat to teachers’ health posed by excessive workloads, deprofessionalisation and educational reform.
The Union fears that the current wave of cuts and attacks on the profession from the Coalition Government will only increase the strain on teachers and school leaders.
In recognition of the pressures on teachers and school leaders and the common reluctance to seek help, the NASUWT has created an online wellbeing at work tool.
The questionnaire assists members to identify the key stressors they are experiencing and suggests sources of remedial action and support. It can be found at www.nasuwt.org.uk/WellbeingSurvey.
The NASUWT website also contains a wealth of advice and information on tackling stress.
Visit www.nasuwt.org.uk/Health for more details. The NASUWT’s research into teachers’ mental health can be found at www.nasuwt.org.uk/MentalHealthReport.