Early leavers—preservation
Early leavers—preservation

The following Pensions guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Early leavers—preservation
  • Preservation requirements
  • Which schemes do the preservation requirements apply to?
  • No discrimination between short service benefit and long service benefit
  • Qualifying for short service benefits
  • Informing early leavers of their rights
  • What is a period of 'qualifying service'?
  • Linked qualifying service
  • Breaks in pensionable service
  • Short service benefits—calculation
  • more


In this Practice Note, references to the trustees of a scheme include a manager of that scheme.

Preservation requirements

Occupational pension schemes are required by statute to provide certain benefits for active members when their pensionable service ends before normal pension age (ie to preserve benefits for them in the scheme). Members who leave a scheme (ie cease to be in pensionable service) before normal pension age are referred to as early leavers (or deferred members). The benefits that schemes must preserve for an early leaver are called a short service benefit (or a deferred pension).

The preservation requirements which occupational pension schemes must comply with in respect of early leavers are contained in:

  1. the Pension Schemes Act 1993, Pt IV, ss 69–82 (PSA 1993), and

  2. the Occupational Pension Schemes (Preservation of Benefit) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/167

Insofar as the early leaver has accrued contracted-out salary-related (COSR) rights which are preserved within the scheme, separate legislative provisions dictate how these rights should be treated. For further information, see Practice Note: Legal regime applicable to Section 9(2B) rights and GMPs from 6 April 2016.

The preservation requirements are not overriding (ie they do not apply automatically to schemes regardless of the provisions of their trust deed and rules). A scheme's rules are required

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