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Individual earnings margins being issued ahead of temporary suspension to regulations on retire and return ending

Article originally published 18 January 2022.  Link to partial retirement factsheet restored.


The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Act 2020 setting out measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, will end on 24 March 2022. This will include an end to the temporary suspension of regulations that allowed recently retired NHS staff to return to work or increase their commitments during the pandemic without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced.

Having written to all affected pensioners at the end of last year to let them know about the end of the temporary suspension and the return to normal arrangements from 25 March 2022, we are now in the process of writing to affected pensioners to let them know their individual earnings margin. 

The earnings margin is the annual amount that pensioner members are able to earn in NHS employment without it affecting the amount of pension they are paid. Where this amount is exceeded, the member’s pension will be reduced (abated) accordingly.

The letters are being issued to the following pensioners based on their individual circumstances:

Pensioners who won’t be affected by the end of the temporary suspension of retire and return regulation as they will be turning 60-years-old soon

The regulations don’t apply to members once they’ve turned 60 years and they’re able to return to full time work without any impact on their pension. 

Where a pensioner member is going to turn 60 within six weeks of the 25 March 2022, we have not provided an individual earnings margin as we don’t believe they will breach the limit of their individual earnings margin in this time. These members can continue working as they are now, if they wish to.

Pensioners who may earn more than their earnings margin

We are writing to pensioners who have retired and returned to work or chosen to draw down part of their benefits, to let them know their individual earnings margin. Those who have chosen to draw down part of their benefits must ensure they meet the requirements set out in the Partial Retirement fact sheet (PDF: 236KB). This is the amount they can earn in NHS employment after the end of the temporary suspension, without it affecting their pension and causing it to be reduced (abated).

If a member thinks they will earn more than their earnings margin, they can ask us to reduce their pension to limit the possibility of an overpayment that they will have to pay back. To do this, they should write to us and tell us how much they would like to reduce their pension by.

More information about NHS Pension Scheme benefits following retirement can be found on our website: