Pensions FAQs

For members of USS from April 2019 the employee’s contribution is 8.8% of gross pensionable pay and the University pays 19.5%.  Members receive tax relief on their contributions through the net pay arrangement through payroll. 

For members of the NHSPS contributions payable are based on a tiered table ranging from 5% to 14.5% and the University pays 14.38%.  Members receive tax relief on their contributions through the net pay arrangement through payroll. 

Casuals are eligible for NEST and the University applies the minimum employee and employer rates imposed (from April 2019 these are employee 5% and employer 4%).  Deductions are made through the relief at source (RAS) method where the pension provider (NEST), claims tax relief back from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on behalf of an eligible member after contributions are paid to them.

e.g. Where an employee contributions is 1%, the breakdown will be as follows:

  • 0.8% from their pay – this is what the employer deducts and sends to the pension provider 
  • 0.2% tax relief – this is what the pension provider claims from the government on the employees behalf and tops up the employee contribution by this amount.

The employee contribution level the employer has set in the example is 1%.  This is higher than the amount the employer actually sends to pension provider (0.8%).

Members of the LGPS contributions are also based on a tiered table however, no new members are eligible for this scheme. Members receive tax relief on their contributions through the net pay arrangement through payroll.

Membership is automatic for USS unless you choose to opt out. 

Membership of the NHSPS depends on set eligibility criteria (more information can be obtained from the Payroll & Pensions office by emailing  finance.pensions@keele.ac.uk). 

NEST membership is through Auto Enrolment but casuals can opt in if they wish, more information can be found here.

For USS members the Opt Out form is available on the USS website and should be completed and sent to the Payroll & Pensions office – IC2. 

For NEST members you can only opt out once you have been enrolled and you’re still within your opt-out period.  The opt-out period is for one month and starts three working days from the date of enrolment.  You can find this date in your NEST welcome pack.  If you pass this date you won’t be eligible for a refund but you will be able to stop contributions. More information can be found on the NEST website.

If you have decided not to join straight away, or opted out before, you can always ask to join USS and NEST at a later date.

USS will investigate a transfer of benefits.  You will need to complete a Transfer-in request Form to start the investigation which can be found on the USS web page here.  Transfers in will go into the Investment Builder section of USS.

Yes, you can pay what is called Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for USS via your My USS account through the Investment Builder arrangement.  More information can be found here

Contributions will be taken from your part time salary.  More information can be found on the USS website in particular in the ‘Your Guide to the Universities Superannuation Scheme’

There are various Life events that may have an impact on members and their families, such as bereavement, divorce etc more information can be found on the USS website here.

For members of the NHSPS more information regarding changes can be found on the NHS website here.

USS scheme members:

  • Depending on how long you have been in the pension scheme, you will have various choices as to what happens to your benefits. If you have less than two years' membership (three months for employees participating in the Salary Sacrifice Scheme – Payflex+) you can ask for a partial refund (member contributions only less tax relief) you have paid into the scheme or leave the benefits in as a frozen pension to collect at normal retirement age. If you choose this option, you could then possibly transfer the benefits to your new employer's scheme, if they have one. If you have more than two years' service the refund option is removed, but you can still choose between a frozen pension or a transfer out to a new scheme.

NHS scheme members:

  • Due to the membership eligibility criteria most members will only be eligible for deferred membership or a transfer out to a new employer. You can find more information from the NHSPS website here.

NEST scheme members:

  • More information can be found on the NEST website here.

LGPS

You can find out more about retirement, early retirement and flexible retirement from the USS website and the NHS website.  For LGPS please contact the Payroll and Pensions office.