The Pensions Team provides support to new employees and those leaving employment, deals with transfers between pension schemes, retirements and general pensions enquiries. The Pensions Team staff also provide technical support to ensure current and future legislative changes are reviewed regularly and assess the impact these changes may have on the pension schemes, Trustees and Members.
The main schemes operated by the University are:
Automatic Enrolment for Pensions
Since 1 April 2013, legislation requires the University of Sheffield to automatically enrol any eligible employees, who are not members of a qualifying pension arrangement, into a pension scheme. Eligibility for automatic membership is determined by age and earnings, but even if you do not meet these criteria, please note you can still ask to opt into membership of the pension scheme appropriate to your grade.
In addition, the University is required by law to re-assess those who have previously opted out of membership once every three years following the original enrolment date of April 2013. Therefore, if someone who has previously opted out then meets the age and earnings criteria, once re-assessed, they must be re-enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme. This also includes USPS members that have chosen to contribute at the 2% (non-qualifying) level who must be re-enrolled, meaning moved to the current qualifying level of contribution.
The legislation is part of a Government initiative to encourage more people to save for their retirement through increased pension scheme membership across the whole country. The University is obliged, under law, to put you into membership of a pension scheme if you meet the automatic enrolment, or re-enrolment, criteria. The University will write to any members of staff that are automatically enrolled, to confirm that this has been done and what action, if any, the employee needs to take. You do have the option to opt out of membership, and information about of how to do this will be included with the written enrolment information.
Please note that, under law, you cannot opt out of membership until after you have been officially enrolled in the scheme, meaning after the date you receive the enrolment letter.
If you would like further information on how to join a pension scheme, or have queries about your existing scheme membership, please contact the Pensions Team.
Please note that if you are under 75, work or usually work in the UK, and earn over £5,824 a year (the amount set by the Government for the 2016-2017 tax year) we must by law continue to maintain your membership of a scheme that meets certain government standards and if your membership of such a scheme ends (and it is not because of something you do or fail to do), we must by law put you into another scheme that meets Government standards straightaway.
Salary Sacrifice for Pensions
Both USS and USPS operate on a salary sacrifice basis. All members will be automatically switched to salary sacrifice in their 4th month of membership unless they opt-out of salary sacrifice. For the majority of members, salary sacrifice reduces the National Insurance contributions paid by both employee and employer, but it does mean that if you leave or opt-out of the scheme after the switch to salary sacrifice, you will no longer be able to obtain a refund of contributions (where this would otherwise be available). Please go to our salary sacrifice pages for further information on how salary sacrifice works and how it may impact you.
Need Help or More Information?
Who to Contact
If you have any queries then please contact the Pensions Team.