Frequently asked questions

The pensions team are here to assist you with any queries you may have

Why have I been automatically enrolled into the pension scheme?

Please refer to the auto-enrolment factsheet [PDF]

What if I take up an additional post?

With effect from 1st September 2018, employees who are currently enrolled into either SAUL or USS under an existing employment post will be automatically placed into the relevant scheme upon commencement of a new eligible post (see the Pensions home page for membership criteria).  You will build up further pension membership with regards to your combined earnings.

If you are a current member of the SAUL pension scheme, and commence a post which is eligible for USS membership, there are some decisions you have available to you in regards to future pension provision. Please contact HR Pensions as soon as possible to understand your options.

What does “salary sacrifice” mean?

All members will automatically pay contributions to the pension scheme under the Schools salary sacrifice arrangement unless you actively took measures to opt out of this arrangement. 

For details of this arrangement, please refer to the salary sacrifice factsheet [PDF].

How much does scheme membership cost me?

If you are a member or prospective member of the SAUL pension scheme (salary bands 1 to 5) please refer to our SAUL factsheet for details of the contribution rate required from both yourself and the School. 

If you are a member or prospective member of the USS pension scheme (salary band 6 and above) please refer to the USS factsheet for details of the contribution rate required from both yourself and the School.

Are my pension benefits subject to tax?

Under current legislation you are able to take a proportion of your benefits in the form of a tax free lump sum at retirement.  Your monthly pension instalments paid from the pension scheme when you retire will be taxable under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system in the same way as salary. 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will tell the pension scheme how much tax to apply to your pension instalments by providing a tax code to apply to your payments. 

HMRC impose a limit upon the maximum amount of tax free cash you are able to receive upon retirement.

This is broadly calculated as 25% of the value of your benefits for Lifetime Allowance [PDF] purposes (or 25% of your available LTA if you have exceeded this). 

HMRC have established allowances within which pension savings achieve tax favourable treatment in the UK. 

The value of your pension benefits for this purpose is effectively assessed by the Lifetime Allowance and the Annual Allowance.  For information regarding these limits please refer to the Pensions Tax [PDF] factsheet.

What do I receive in the form of a State Pension? 

Any State Pension entitlement is paid in addition to your benefits earned within the School’s pension arrangements.  For details of who qualifies for the State Pension and the amount that becomes payable, please refer to the new State Pension government website. 

You will be able to claim the new State Pension if you are:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you will receive the State Pension under the old rules instead

What if I want to join/re-join the pension scheme?

If you are not automatically eligible for pension scheme membership, you can ask the Pensions Team to enrol you into the scheme at any point.  

What happens if I leave the pension scheme?

If you are a member or prospective member of the SAUL pension scheme (salary bands 1 to 5) please refer to the SAUL factsheet [PDF] for details of what happens upon your leaving active membership of the scheme. 

If you are a member or prospective member of the USS pension scheme (salary band 6 and above) please refer to the USS factsheet [PDF] for details of what happens upon your leaving active membership of the scheme.

Can I transfer my benefits overseas?

Once you leave active membership of the pension scheme you have the option to transfer the value of your deferred pension benefits to another registered pension scheme. 

You are able to request to transfer your benefits at any time up until one year prior to your Normal Pension Age under the scheme. 

Your statement issued to you by the pension scheme upon leaving active membership will provide full details of how to go about requesting a transfer of your benefits. 

If the transfer is overseas, then benefits must be transferred to a “Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme” (QROPS), which is essentially an arrangement which is recognised by HM Revenue & Customs in the UK as meeting certain criteria. 

The government website contains a list of pension schemes that have told HMRC that they meet the conditions to be a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS) and have asked to be included on the list.  An updated list of ROPS notifications is published on the 1st and 15th day of each month. This list is not exhaustive and does not guarantee that transfers to these arrangements will be free of UK tax. It is the responsibility of the individual and their adviser to determine if there is any tax liability upon any transfer of pension savings. 

The Budget announcement in March 2017 announced that transfers to QROPS requested on or after 9 March 2017 may incur a tax charge at a rate of 25% in some instances.

What happens if I move from salary bands 1-5 to salary band 6 or above?

You should contact The Pensions team who will be able to inform you of your options.