These pay a retirement income based on your salary and how long you’ve worked for your employer.
Defined benefit pensions include ‘final salary’ and ‘career average’ pension schemes.
These are generally now only available from public sector or older workplace pension schemes.
If you’re in a final salary pension, you’ll continue to build up an entitlement to a pension based on your salary before you went on leave, including any pay increases during maternity leave. This is because it counts as ‘pensionable service’.
If you decide to take any extra unpaid leave, this is classed as non-pensionable service.
So, although you don’t leave the scheme – this period of unpaid leave won’t count towards your pensionable service and so might result in a lower pension when you retire. However, you may be able to pay extra contributions to make up for any period of non-pensionable service.