The Council has in place a Voluntary Redundancy (VR) Scheme which is utilised in redundancy situations to prevent compulsory redundancies. In previous years, we have opened a ‘window of opportunity’ for employees to express an interest in VR. However, the VR Scheme will now be available on an ongoing and indefinite basis. There is no closing date.
If you are interested in leaving the Council under VR, it is important that you are aware that there are currently changes being proposed to the Local Government Pension Scheme regulations by a new piece of legislation called ‘The Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020’.
These regulations, once made law, will impact on the exit package local government services (green book) employees will receive if they are over 55 and a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme after 31st March 2021.
Therefore we must advise you that the redundancy and pension calculations you receive as a result of making an expression of interest at present, may not be what you will receive if you decide to leave on VR after 31st March 2021.
If you require further information on how The Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 may affect you, please contact your trade union representative or HR Officer.
Anyone seriously considering VR must complete two steps before their expression of interest can be progressed:
Firstly you must confirm with your Head of Service that your post can be ‘lost’ or a bumped redundancy facilitated.
Secondly, you must discuss a leaving date with your Head of Service in order for service needs to be considered. (Please consider here the implications of the HMRC’s Post Employment Notice Pay which is detailed in the VR Scheme and in a FAQ below).
You should note that in some services, there may be a requirement for a headcount reduction linked to budget proposals, whilst in other services there may be limited opportunities for employees to leave under VR.
Please read the VR Scheme below and our Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
I work 30 hours a week. If I am eligible for VR, will the redundancy payment be calculated on 30 hours or 37 hours?
Your payment will be calculated on the number of contracted hours worked, in your case it would be 30 hours.
If I have not yet reached 55 years of age, will I still be considered for VR?
Yes, this offer of VR is open to employees of all ages, not just those who are able to access their pension benefits. If you are not eligible to receive pension benefits, either because you are under 55 or you are not in a pension scheme, then you will be able receive a severance payment based on the 45 week table.
Can I obtain a Pension Estimate directly from the City and County of Swansea Pension’s Section?
No. A pension estimate will only be requested from the pension Section if your expression of interest has been approved by your Head of Service. HR will then contact the Pensions Section for a pension estimate which will be provided to you for consideration.
If you do not want to make an expression of interest, but want a pension estimate, you can visit the Pension’s Team website https://pensions.swansea.gov.uk/, where you register for ‘My Pension’.
Where can I find out more information about changes in State Retirement ages and State Retirement pensions?
Please follow this link – it gives details of how the new State Retirement Age/s are being phased in: www.gov.uk/browse/working/state-pension
If I am aged 55 or over, and am accepted for VR, will I be able to have early access to my pension?
Yes, if you are "dismissed" by reason of redundancy or the Council decides that, on the grounds of business efficiency, it is in the Councils interest that you should leave its employment. In both cases, if you are aged 55 or more, you will be entitled to immediate payment of retirement pension based on the pensionable years of service you possess at that time. For the purposes of having early access to your pension benefits, there is no difference between voluntary and compulsory redundancy.
How is the early release of pension cost calculated?
The early release of pension is calculated by the City and County of Swansea Pensions Team. If you apply for VR and your Head of Service considers that your post can be "lost", these figures are requested by Payroll to the CCoS Pensions Team and these are provided to you.
If I take up VR, could I return to work for the authority in the future?
Employees who leave the Council’s employment on the grounds of early retirement (ER) or voluntary redundancy (VR) who are employed on LGS Grades 11, 12 and 13 or equivalent, will not normally not be permitted to return to any paid temporary or permanent NPT Council employment (which includes schools) or be re-engaged as an agency worker or on a consultancy basis. However, in exceptional circumstances, re-employment may be permitted if the “employing” Head of Service is able to provide a robust business case for doing so which is acceptable to the Director of Finance & Corporate Services and Head of Human Resources, in consultation with the relevant trade union/s.
All other employees who leave the Council’s employment on the grounds of early retirement (ER) or voluntary redundancy (VR) will not be permitted to return to employment with the Council for a period of 12 months following their leaving date. However, in exceptional circumstances, earlier re-employment may be permitted if the “employing” Head of Service is able to provide a robust business case for doing so which is acceptable to the Director of Finance & Corporate Services and Head of Human Resources, in consultation with the relevant trade union/s.
If VR was financially viable for the Council and the employee, would the line manager be in a position of refuse to let someone go?
Before you express an interest in VR, a decision will need to be made by your Head of Service about whether your "departure" is affordable in terms of the cost to the Council and also whether your job can be "lost" or a bumped redundancy facilitated. If your Head of Service has determined that neither of these options are viable, then unfortunately you will be unable to leave on VR.
I reduced my working hours from 37 to 25.5 in August. What effect will this have on my VR payment?
Your redundancy payment will be calculated on your contracted hours worked. In your case it would be 25.5 hours.
Is this VR Scheme available to employees who are directly employed by Schools?
No, this VR Scheme is not available to employees who are directly employed by schools.
What is Post Employment Notice Pay (PENP) and how will it affect me if I take VR?
Since 6th April 2018, HMRC changed the way employers must deal with termination payments. The changes introduce the concept of Post Employment Notice Pay (PENP) which represents the amount of basic pay the employee will not receive because their employment was terminated without full notice being given. It is important to note that PENP will only affect your discretionary compensation element of your VR payment (if applicable), not the statutory redundancy payment.
Note: Not all employees who leave on VR receive a discretionary compensation payment, please refer to the VR Scheme above.
What this means for employees considering leaving on the grounds of VR is if your contractual notice is worked, then no tax and national insurance would be deducted from your VR payment. However, if your contractual notice period is not worked then tax and national insurance will be deducted from the discretionary compensation amount only (if applicable) of your VR payment. The amount is calculated by applying a formula provided by HMRC, depending on your leaving date and the date your VR acceptance is signed.
For example if you have over 12 years continuous local government service and you intend to leave on the grounds of VR on 31st March 2020, you must sign your VR acceptance by 31st December 2019 to ensure you have your full contractual notice (ie 12 weeks) and no PENP is calculated.
However, if you have over 12 years continuous local government service and you intend to leave on the grounds of VR on 31st March 2020 and you sign your VR acceptance on 1st February 2020, you will not receive your full contractual notice, you will only receive 8 weeks’ notice. This means that the PENP calculation will be made on 4 weeks’ pay and tax and national insurance will be deducted accordingly. Again, this will only be on the discretionary compensation element of your VR payment, if applicable.