Overseas volunteers to receive pension contributions


Following a decision by the Government, public sector workers such as doctors and teachers doing volunteer work overseas will have their pension contributions paid for them.

In a bid to boost public sector volunteering abroad, contributions for public sector workers will be paid from a £13 million fund.

The fund, which is a joint initiative of the departments of Health, International Development and Children, Schools and Family, is part of the Government’s effort to implement Lord Crisp’s report into improving links between health services in the UK and developing countries.

The fund will be available to workers between 2008 and 2011 for periods of between 7 and 24 months. Pensions contributions will be based on people’s salaries.

The move has been welcomed by the head of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). A spokesperson for the organisation said this move is a strong and welcome endorsement by the government of international volunteering.

The spokesperson added that the scheme is open to any member of a UK public sector pension scheme. It acknowledges the huge benefits they then bring back to public service in the UK when they return with refined skills and a strong sense of personal and professional growth.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said by ensuring that pension contributions are paid, at no cost to the school, local authority or individual teacher, will encourage more sabbaticals and career development breaks.

Approximately 350 UK public servants take up volunteer assignments in developing countries each year.

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