Matthews case update - second options exercise

The important stuff you need to know about the second options exercise of the Matthews case


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The ‘second options exercise’ was agreed in the MoU (Memorandum of understanding) of the Matthews case, to give part-time workers in the Firefighters’ pension scheme an opportunity to buy their pension. 

The original legal settlement, under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, only allowed certain retained firefighters – those in service between 1 July 2000 and 5 April 2006 – to become members of the Firefighters’ pension scheme (FPS).

Eligible firefighters were asked whether they wanted to join the scheme in an options exercise, which took place between 2014 and 2015. Firefighters had to confirm their decision by 30 September 2015. This is now referred to as the ‘first options exercise’.

Latest development

More recently, this judgment was challenged at the European Court of Justice in relation to fee-paid judges. The Court ruled that service going back to the start of a part-time firefighter’s employment could be taken into account instead. 

The legislation to cover this is within ‘The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) (Amendment) Order 2023’ and will come into effect on 1 October 2023. 

What does this mean?

A ‘second options exercise’ will now take place to allow eligible retained firefighters to buy pension service as a special member of the FPS 2006. This will be backdated to the start date of their employment with their local fire and rescue service.

For further information about the second options exercise and what will happen next, please visit the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme member website here, or contact your fire and rescue authority.

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