Taxes and pensions

An overview of salary payments, pensions and UK taxes.


Payment of salary

Your salary will be paid on the last working day of the month directly into your bank account.  When you start at the University the Payroll team will email you a form so you can send them your bank details, alternatively you can enter your bank details via MyJob.

Our main University pay structure includes grades with a normal expectation of annual progression of approximately 2-3% up to the grade maximum.

Beyond the grade maximum, there's opportunity for further progression based on exceptional performance.  The pay rates are uplifted annually in line with a sector negotiated pay award.  

Our professors and equivalent level senior staff are eligible for an annual pay review where exceptional performance in the role is recognised and rewarded.


The state pension is a regular payment some people can claim when they reach state pension age.  Most people build up some state pension, but the amount they get varies.  It's worth understanding how you build up state pension and how much income it will give you in later life.  Most people take out pensions with their employer in addition to the state pension which is known as a workplace pension.

Workplace pension

As a member of staff at the University you have access to one of our generous pension schemes.  There are three schemes available:

  • University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS), a cash balance scheme, for all staff on grades 1 to 5.
  • Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a hybrid scheme with both defined benefits and defined contribution sections, for staff on grade 6 and above.
  • NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS), is available for staff working an any grade within the NHS subject to meeting strict eligibility criteria.

UK taxes

In the UK your pay is subject to two compulsory taxes; income tax and National Insurance.

Income tax

All workers in the UK must pay income tax.  The amount you pay depends on how much you earn.  Not all income is taxable and rates at which income tax are due are subject to annual change.  If you are employed your tax will be taken via PAYE (pay as you earn) and will be deducted each month from your gross salary. The government's website has a guide to tax.

When you have income and capital gains from one country and are resident in another, you may have to pay tax in both countries under different tax laws; this is known as double taxation.  To help avoid being taxed twice the UK has negotiated double taxation agreements with many countries.  A list of countries with a double taxation agreement can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs HMRC website.  Individuals from these countries must apply for the right to avoid double taxation.

National Insurance (NI) and obtaining a NI number

In the UK, National Insurance is a compulsory deduction from your pay that funds the state provided pension, health benefits and other government benefits.  The amount you pay is dependent on your earnings.  As an employee, you will need to have a National Insurance (NI) number so that the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can record your income tax payments and National Insurance contributions against your record.

You should apply for a NI number as soon as you arrive in the UK.  You can apply for an NI number online through the website.  Part of the application form involves uploading documents to prove your identity, which you should be able to do online as part of the application form. 

After you apply you will receive an email with your reference number.  It can take 4 weeks to get your NI number after you've proved your identity.

Once you have your NI number you should inform the Payroll team.

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