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About this work
At public asylums, pensions were available for officers and servants under legislation passed as early as 1853. However, private institutions like the Retreat were not covered by this and subsequent statutory provision. The Lunacy Commissioners recommended in 1870 and in 1871 that the Retreat consider staff pensions, so in 1871-2 the topic was investigated. The pamphlet by Dr Kitching at RET 3/7/1 was issued at this time. It was finally decided that providing pensions would be too costly. However, in case the lack of pensions should deter good staff, it was decided that small regular salary advances should be offered as encouragement, with the further option of special payments given on retirement to specially valued staff. When the Asylum Officers Superannuation Act (1909) was in Bill form, in 1908, a Retreat sub-committee considered pensions again. Once more, it was decided that they would be too expensive. However, younger nurses and, in particular, those nurses who had joined the newly set up Trained Nurses Department, were encouraged to join the pension scheme administered by the Royal Pension Fund for Nurses (founded 1887). In 1911 a sub-committee once again considered pensions, but the question was postponed in 1912. By then, it had been decided that any scheme would have to be a contributory one. Not until 1916, after much further consideration, was a Retreat Pension Scheme proposed. Details of it were printed in the Retreats Annual Report for 1916. The Scheme would result in a regular revenue charge on Retreat funds, as both Retreat staff and the Institution itself paid in contributions to the scheme. The Scheme was arranged through, and administered by, the Yorkshire Insurance Company. Money paid in by individuals was returnable if they left Retreat employment, the Retreats contributions reverting to its funds. Pensionable age was 60 for men and 55 for women. One problem was the numbers of older nursing staff, near to retirement, and the valued older servants whom the Retreat wished to reward with adequate pensions. The Retreat could not afford the extra money needed to make up their pension contributions to an acceptable amount. So a successful Appeal was launched among the Society of Friends and other Retreat supporters to raise £7,000. The Retreat Pension Scheme commenced in 1917. In 1932, a binding Scheme and Rules was adopted, which absorbed the 1917 Scheme. In 1955, the 1932 Scheme was replaced by two new schemes: the New Pension Fund, and the Provident Fund. See also RET 1/5/5/4 and see RET 3/8/1-2 for Pension Fund investments