Government to abolish short service pension refunds

The government is to abolish short service pension refunds for employees who leave an employer after less than two years’ service.


Under current arrangements, a member of an occupational pension scheme that leaves having completed more than three months but less than two years’ qualifying service may be entitled to receive a short service refund.

In some cases, this is optional, but in others cases an employer may insist on the refund being taken or a transfer being made to another scheme.

Currently, more than 20,000 short service refunds occur every year. The government predicts this figure will grow with the continuing roll out of auto-enrolment.

The ban on short service refunds is intended to ensure money saved into a pension scheme stays there and is invested in to build the saver’s overall pension pot.

Wider plans by the government also includes introducing automatic transfer arrangements for employees who change employer during the ccourse of their career. 

It is part of a number of pension reforms announced by the government over the last year. It intends to bring in the new measures from October 2015.

Pensions minister Steve Webb, said: “The days of people spending their entire career with one employer are largely over.

“Today, the average Briton has 11 different jobs in their lifetime and we need the rules to reflect this reality. 

“If people change jobs regularly and ‘cash out’ their pension each time, they stand no chance of building up a decent pension pot.

“By abolishing short service refunds and developing plans for automatic transfers to help people keep track of their savings, this government will build on its record of helping millions of people save more for a comfortable retirement.”