Date posted: 03/02/2003

Issue: Advice on the pensions treatment of civil servants who are reservists called-out for service in the Armed Forces.

Action: Employers should take the action set out in this notice; in summary

  • Notify pay centres of the start date of unpaid special leave
  • Continue to pay accruing superannuation liability charges only if in the PCSPS (section 3.1)
  • Note the arrangements required to recover employer contributions (section 3.2)
  • Where the member is paying contributions for additional life cover to Equitable Life under the CSAVCs, arrange for the employer to make these contributions on behalf of the member for the period of call-out service (section 4.3)

Timing: With immediate effect.

1. Background:

Reservists called-out are treated as if they had taken special unpaid leave and their service will continue to reckon under the PCSPS provided they do not elect to join the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS). The Ministry of Defence will pay their salaries for the duration of the call-out. Reckoning under the AFPS can occur after 6 months service where reservists have a preserved pension in the AFPS or are in receipt of a pension from the AFPS. All reservists upon reporting to their mobilisation centre will be given the option of choosing whether their service should reckon under the PCSPS or the AFPS. Irrespective of their choice of pensions scheme all reservists are covered by those provisions of the AFPS which deal with death or injury attributable to Reserve Forces service. This does not affect entitlement to death benefit under the PCSPS.

2. Employee contributions:

Those who have remained in the classic scheme have the option of paying arrears of contributions either by additional periodical contributions or from their lump sum on retirement. The differences in the calculation method should be made clear to those involved. Members of the classic plus and premium schemes will only be required to pay arrears of contributions by additional payments on return to their employing department or agency. Those with a partnership pension account should follow the guidance given in EPN15 paragraphs 7 & 9 and paragraph 21 of EPN33.

3. Employer contributions (ASLCs)

3.1 Employers should continue to pay ASLCs in respect of Reserve Forces service that reckons under the PCSPS. ASLCs are not required where the civil servant opts to join the AFPS for their period of call-out. The amount to be paid is calculated by multiplying the pay they would normally have received, had they not been called-out, by the current ASLC rate for the individual. Cheques made payable to the Civil Superannuation Vote should be sent with a covering note to Mrs Angela Fisher, Cabinet Office, Financial Services Unit, 7th Floor, Grosvenor House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

3.2 Statutory Instrument 1197 No. 309 “The Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 1997” came into force on 1 April 1997. This gives the MOD the power amongst other things to reimburse employers the contributions made to public service schemes in respect of employee’s Reserve Forces service. Employers wishing to reclaim their contributions should contact the appropriate Armed Forces Service contact below.

4. Added years and additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)

4.1 Added years contributions cannot continue during a period of Reserve Forces service. Because the number of years purchased will be reduced, employers must provide individuals with the opportunity to make good the shortfall over a reasonable period following their return to the Civil Service (Pensions Manual Options & AVCs chapter 2.5 refers).

4.2 Similarly AVCs cannot be made whilst on call-out service but members of the Civil Service AVC scheme with a money purchase contract may change their level of contributions at any time. Therefore on return to the Civil Service they could increase their contributions.

4.3 Members purchasing additional life cover from Equitable Life under the CSAVCS will not be able to continue contributions during the period of call-out. Employers should make arrangements to pay these contributions on their behalf other than where the individual joins the AFPS. These payments should be treated as an advance of salary, recoverable from the officer on return to the Civil Service.

5. AFPS contacts in the MOD

Employers should contact the relevant office below with the full name, date of birth and National Insurance number of members called-out for Reserve Forces service and provide MOD with a contact in the event of a civil servant reservist opting to join the AFPS. This is necessary to prevent service reckoning both in the PCSPS and the AFPS.


Directorate Staff Personnel Support Branch
Worthy Down
Hampshire SO21 2 RG Tel: (01962) 880880 extension 2639

Royal Air Force

RAF Pensions Branch
RAF Innsworth
GL3 1EZ Tel. (01452) 712612 exts 6474 or 6475

Royal Navy and Royal Marines

Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA)
(Centurion RN/RM Pensions)
Centurion Building
Room 1069
Grange Road
PO13 9XA Tel. (023) 92702351 (direct line)


Enquiries about content:

Colin Hennem
Tel: 01256 846447

Lesley Clarke
Tel: 01256 846464

Enquiries about distribution:

Judith Hornby
Tel : 01256 846271

The original contact details given for the Army (Directorate Staff Personnel Support Branch) will only take general enquiries, NOT enquiries involving particular reservists.


Would employers please note the new contact details below for specific enquiries relating to individual reservists recalled for service in the Army:

AFPAA (G)/ EDS Enquiries        FAO: Gavin McGinley A - LE

Regular Soldiers Pay                           Jan Ince LEY - Z

Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
G2 8EX

Tel. (0141) 2243867 (direct line)

3 February 2003
Last updated:
1 August 2023