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Seniority pay

Q: I am due to retire from my partnership and during the last meeting with the practice accountant, I was told that funds would be held back from my settlement as the PCT has paid me 100 per cent of my seniority pay when I was only entitled to 60 per cent. Can this be right?

A: Entitlement to the full level of seniority pay is dependent on the GP's NHS pensionable average income (excluding seniority). This figure is based on the income shown on the superannuation certificates that GP principals submit each year.

Although it is the 2011/12 financial year, the average NHS pensionable income for 2007/8 has only recently been announced. Therefore your entitlement compared with seniority money paid 'on account' for 2011/12 will only be finalised sometime in the future.

Until figures are announced, interim seniority factors are used to establish a provisional basis for seniority payment.

As and when there is any clawback of seniority in respect of your own entitlement, this will be deducted from the practice's funding rather than by asking you for a repayment as this is the easier option.

It is also the reason why the accountant is keeping funds in the practice in case it occurs a few years.

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