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Pension Auto Enrolment

Pension auto enrolment regulations encourage greater employee participation in workplace pensions.

The government has introduced pension auto enrolment regulations to encourage greater employee participation in workplace pensions. These place an obligation on employers such as UCL to enrol eligible individuals into a pension scheme which meets certain minimum standards.

  • First time enrolment
    There are two methods used by UCL to enrol eligible individuals into a pension scheme for the first time.

    For individuals employed on a fixed monthly basis, the provisions in your contract of employment provide for contractual enrolment to be used. Please see the section on Automatic Enrolment – New UCL Contracts below for more information.

    For individuals employed as an “As and When Employee” or Casual Worker, including Unitemps, statutory enrolment is used. Please see the section on Auto Enrolment – Casual/As and When and UniTemps below for more information.
     
  • Re-enrolment
    If you are eligible to be re-enrolled by UCL, please see the section on Re-enrolment (the 3 Year Rule) below. 

We recommend that you read the sections of this page that apply to you very carefully, particularly if you have a valid HMRC Enhanced, Fixed or Individual Protection certificate.

The sections on Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS, Opting-In and UCL's Commitment to its Employees apply to all individuals. 


Automatic enrolment for contractual employment

New UCL contracts

If you are employed on a fixed monthly pay basis, are over age 16 and below age 75, you will be contractually enrolled into one of two schemes: 

  • If you are employed on a grade 1 – 6 you will be enrolled in the Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL) Scheme. In this scheme, UCL will make contributions equivalent to 16% of your salary and you will be required to contribute an amount equivalent to 6% of your salary*. Read more information on SAUL
     
  • If you are employed on a grade 6b or above you will be enrolled in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). In this scheme, UCL will make contributions equivalent to 21.1% of your salary and you will be required to contribute an amount equivalent to 9.6% of your salary**.  Read more information on USS
     
  • If you are considering joining the USS, it is recommended that you seek appropriate financial advice from a regulated adviser and that you contact Pension Services for further information in order to help you compare membership of the USS and SAUL before you make a decision. UCL has signed contracts with a range of Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s) who are available to assist in reviewing your pension position.  Please contact Pension Services at: pensions@ucl.ac.uk if you decide that you want to join the USS.

You may choose to opt out of the scheme if you want to (please see Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS below). Alternatively, you may be eligible for continued membership of the National Health Service Pension Scheme. 

  * The current contribution rates are shown as at 1 April 2019, but UCL and SAUL reserve the right to alter (including to increase) the contribution rates from time to time.

  ** The current contribution rates are shown as at 1 October 2019, but UCL and the USS reserve the right to alter (including to increase) the contribution rates from time to time

Eligibility for the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS)

UCL will contractually enroll you into one of two schemes, as noted above. However, if you were previously a member of the NHSPS and are now employed by a recognised employer of the NHSPS e.g. a UCL Medical School, you may be eligible to re-join the NHSPS. 

To re-join you are required to complete an NHSPS (SD65) joining form.  You must complete Part 1 and then the form should be scanned to pensions@ucl.ac.uk or sent to Pension Services at Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. UCL will then confirm if you are eligible to re-join.  

Pension Services must receive the joining form within 3 months of the date of your commencement of employment with UCL, or your application may be turned down. Please note, if you have not fully completed and signed the joining form then UCL will not be able to accept it and there may be a delay in your re-joining the NHSPS.  UCL accepts no liability for any delay caused by receipt of an incomplete/unsigned joining form.

You should think carefully about the impact that this may have on your personal tax position and whether your action could cause a loss of any lifetime allowance protection that you may hold. 

Whether to join the NHSPS and the impact of your membership of the NHSPS on your personal tax position is entirely a matter for you to consider. UCL is unable to advise you on this matter and will not accept liability for the loss of any lifetime allowance protection caused by your action. 

If you are not a member of the NHSPS and you meet the criteria for auto-enrolment, then UCL has an obligation to enrol you into the USS or SAUL. You should not assume that because you have chosen not to join the NHSPS, that your personal tax position is protected going forward.

If you have Fixed or Enhanced Protection - URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED to preserve your lifetime allowance protection if you have been auto-enrolled by contractual enrolment

You will lose your Fixed or Enhanced Protection if you are enrolled into USS or SAUL and do not opt out within 3 months of the date of commencement of your employment with UCL (as specified in your contract of employment).

Your Opt Out Form must be received by Pension Services within the 3 month time period to preserve your protection. Please see the section below on Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS for further details. 

It is recommended that you take urgent action should you wish to opt out. If you do not opt out within the required timescale, you will be in breach of HMRC rules and will lose your Fixed or Enhanced Protection. 

If you have Primary or Individual Protection

If you have Primary or Individual Protection and are entered into USS or SAUL, you should consider the terms of your protection because if the lifetime allowance permitted by your protection is exceeded, you will be liable to a lifetime allowance tax charge. 

It is recommended that you take urgent action should you wish to opt out. If you wish to opt-out, you must opt out within 3 months of the date of commencement of your employment with UCL (as specified in your contract of employment) in order to be treated as though you had not become a member of  USS or SAUL. Your Opt Out Form must be received by Pension Services within the 3 month time period to preserve your protection.  Please see the section below on Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS for further details.

Seeking your own advice

Auto-enrolment is complex and parts of this webpage also deal with matters in relation to personal taxation.  UCL cannot give you advice and therefore you may need to consider your own position in respect of financial planning, your personal tax position and the legal intricacies of any of the issues raised in this notice.  

This webpage should not be seen as advice in any way or a detailed resume of the relevant law.  If enrolment into USS or SAUL will be detrimental to you, it is your responsibility to ensure that it does not happen or you opt out within the necessary timescale.  



Automatic Enrolment for As and When / Casual / Unitemp workers 

Casual/As and When/Unitemps   

If you are employed as an “As and When Employee”/Casual Worker, aged between 22 and State Pension Age and your earnings are £833 or above in a pay period (2020/2021 tax year), this will trigger UCL to postpone your auto enrolment assessment for 3 months. 

If you meet the criteria then you will receive an email / letter confirming that your assessment has been postponed and that you will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme at the end of the postponement period, if your earnings typically exceed the Auto Enrolment earnings threshold (over £833 or above per month (2020/2021 tax year)). This will mean that your earnings will not be assessed until the end of the 3 month period after you first triggered postponement

If you are eligible to be automatically enrolled, you will receive a further email / letter from UCL confirming this. 

You will be enrolled by default in the Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL) Scheme. In this scheme, UCL will make contributions equivalent to 16% of your salary and you will be required to contribute an amount equivalent to 6% of your salary*.   Read more information on SAUL

If you are employed on a grade 6b equivalent or above you may elect to join the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) as soon as you are automatically enrolled onto the default pensions scheme.  In this scheme, UCL will make contributions equivalent to 21.1% (from 1 October 2019) of your salary and you will be required to contribute an amount equivalent to 9.6% (from 1 October 2019) of your salary**. Read more information on USS

Alternatively, you may be eligible for continued membership of the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS). Please see the section below on Eligibility for the NHSPS for more information. 

You may choose to opt out of the scheme if you want to (please see Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS below). 

If your earnings are less than £833 per month (in the 2020/2021 tax year) and/or you do not fall within the applicable age limits, you will not qualify to be auto enrolled. However, your eligibility will continue to be monitored in case you qualify for auto enrolment at a later date. You may also choose to opt in (please see Opting-in below). 

* The current contribution rates are shown as at 1 April 2019, but UCL and SAUL reserve the right to alter (including to increase) the contribution rates from time to time.

** The current contribution rates are shown as at 1 October 2019, but UCL and the USS reserve the right to alter (including to increase) the contribution rates from time to time

Eligibility for the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS)

UCL will contractually enroll you into one of two schemes, as noted above. However, if you were previously a member of the NHSPS and are now employed by a recognised employer of the NHSPS e.g. a UCL Medical School, you may be eligible to re-join the NHSPS.

To re-join you are required to complete an NHSPS (SD65) joining formYou must complete Part 1 and then the form should be scanned to pensions@ucl.ac.uk or sent to Pension Services at Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. UCL will then confirm if you are eligible to re-join.

Pension Services must receive the joining form within 3 months of the date of your commencement of employment with UCL, or your application may be turned down. Please note, if you have not fully completed and signed the joining form then UCL will not be able to accept it and there may be a delay in your re-joining the NHSPS.  UCL accepts no liability for any delay caused by receipt of an incomplete/unsigned joining form.

You should think carefully about the impact that this may have on your personal tax position and whether your action could cause a loss of any lifetime allowance protection that you may hold.

Whether to join the NHSPS and the impact of your membership of the NHSPS on your personal tax position is entirely a matter for you to consider. UCL is unable to advise you on this matter and will not accept liability for the loss of any lifetime allowance protection caused by your action.

If you are not a member of the NHSPS and you meet the criteria for auto-enrolment, then UCL has an obligation to enrol you into the USS or SAUL. You should not assume that because you have chosen not to join the NHSPS, that your personal tax position is protected going forward.

If you have Fixed or Enhanced Protection - URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED to preserve your lifetime allowance protection if you have been auto-enrolled by contractual enrolment

You will lose your Fixed or Enhanced Protection if you are enrolled into USS or SAUL and do not opt out within one month of joining the pension scheme*.

Your Opt Out Form must be received by Pension Services within one month of joining the pension scheme* to preserve your protection. Please see the section below on Opting Out of USS and SAUL for further details. 

*Please note, your date of joining the pension scheme is determined in accordance with the auto-enrolment legislation.

It is recommended that you take urgent action should you wish to opt out. If you do not opt out within the required timescale, you will be in breach of HMRC rules and will lose your Fixed or Enhanced Protection. 

If you have Primary or Individual Protection

If you have Primary or Individual Protection and are entered into USS or SAUL, you should consider the terms of your protection because if the lifetime allowance permitted by your protection is exceeded, you will be liable to a lifetime allowance tax charge. 

It is recommended that you take urgent action should you wish to opt out. If you wish to opt-out, you must opt out within one month of joining the pension scheme*, in order to be treated as though you had not become a member of USS or SAUL. Your Opt Out Form must be received by Pension Services within one month of joining the pension scheme* to preserve your protection. Please see the section below on Opting Out of USS, SAUL or the NHSPS for further details.

* Please note, your date of joining the pension scheme is determined in accordance with the auto-enrolment legislation.

Seeking your own advice 

Auto-enrolment is complex and parts of this webpage also deal with matters in relation to personal taxation.  UCL cannot give you advice and therefore you may need to consider your own position in respect of financial planning, your personal tax position and the legal intricacies of any of the issues raised in this notice.  This webpage should not be seen as advice in any way or a detailed resume of the relevant law.  If enrolment into USS or SAUL will be detrimental to you, it is your responsibility to ensure that it does not happen or you opt out within the necessary timescale.



Re-enrolment (the 3 year rule)

Re-enrolment (the 3 year rule)

UCL is required to re-enroll workers (who are not already members of a qualifying auto-enrolment scheme) into a workplace pension scheme, broadly every 3 years from 1 March 2013. This will apply if you are aged between 22 and State Pension Age, previously contractually enrolled (auto enrolled) and/or your earnings are £833 or above in a pay period (2020/2021 tax year).

  • If you were formerly a member in SAUL but you opted out, UCL will re-enrol you in SAUL.
  • UCL will re-enrol you in the USS if you were formerly a member in the USS and you opted out.
  • Due to the eligibility requirements for joining the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS), UCL is unable re-enrol you into the NHSPS.

Following your re-enrolment, you may choose to opt out of the scheme if you want to (please see Opting Out of USS, SAUL below).

If you opt out and your earnings change to less than £10,000 per year (2019/2020 tax year) but you continue to meet the other eligibility criteria for auto-enrolment, then you will be automatically enrolled again if your earnings later exceed £10,000 per year (2020/2021 tax year).

You will be notified in writing by UCL if you are re-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. If applicable, UCL may also notify you in writing where UCL opts to exercise its discretionary power not to automatically re-enrol you (please see UCL's power not to re-enroll individuals with lifetime allowance protection below). 

UCL's power not to re-enroll individuals with lifetime allowance protection

UCL has a discretionary power not to automatically re-enroll certain individuals who have lifetime allowance protection. This includes Enhanced Protection, Primary Protection and the different forms of Fixed and Individual Protection e.g. Fixed Protection 2012.

If you have notified UCL that you have lifetime allowance protection up to one calendar month before UCL's re-enrolment date, UCL will endeavour to prevent you from being automatically re-enrolled in the USS or SAUL. In order to notify UCL, you should provide a copy of your lifetime allowance protection certificate to Pension Services to pensions@ucl.ac.uk or sent to Pension Services at Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. Pension Services will confirm receipt in writing within 10 working days. If you have not received confirmation of receipt from Pension Services or you have notified UCL within one calendar month of UCL's re-enrolment date, you may not be included at the time UCL opts to exercise its discretionary power.

Next steps to check and monitor

If you have notified UCL that you have lifetime allowance protection within the timescale noted above, UCL will endeavour to ensure that you are not enrolled, but UCL is not in a position to be able to guarantee this outcome.  It is therefore imperative that you monitor the situation closely in the period following your re-enrolment date.  You can do this by carefully monitoring for any communications from the USS/SAUL or UCL in your UCL e-mail account, UCL internal post system or to your home address registered with UCL. You should also check your pay slip which would indicate if deductions have been made to USS/SAUL.  

If you suspect or believe that you have been re-enrolled, you need to take immediate action as set out below.  UCL can help but cannot take responsibility in relation to what is a personal taxation matter, so you must check and monitor.


 

Opting out of USS, SAUL 

About opting out of USS, SAUL

You can choose to opt out of the USS and SAUL if you want to but you should also consider that:

  • If you stay in you will have your own pension to take when you retire 
  • Your pension belongs to you, even if you leave us in the future 
  • UCL and you will both pay into the scheme every month
  • You may have less income in retirement as a result of opting out.

You cannot sign the Opt Out Form any earlier than the day on which you were auto-enrolled (Auto Enrolment (Contractual enrolment) or Auto Enrolment (Statutory enrolment)), the day on which you joined the NHSPS or the day on which you were re-enrolled (Re-enrolment).

Pension Services are unable to print, supply or complete an Opt Out Form for you, but you can obtain a copy of the relevant form as follows:

If you are choosing to opt out of SAUL you can do so by downloading and completing an opt out form from the link below.
 SAUL opt out form

If you are choosing to opt out of USS you can do so by downloading and completing an opt out form from the link below. 
 - USS opt out form

Important information if you are opting out of the USS or SAUL 

You might see a reference to opting out within 3 months of joining on the USS/SAUL website or the USS/SAUL Opt Out Forms. However, the period to opt out of the USS/SAUL is the time period which applies to your circumstances e.g. Auto Enrolment (Contractual enrolment), Auto Enrolment (Statutory enrolment) or Re-enrolment.

If you are uncertain, please contact Pension Services who will be able to confirm which circumstances apply to you. Please note that they will not be able to discuss the exact USS/SAUL Opt Out dates applicable to you. 

The fully completed and signed ‘Opt Out Form’ should be scanned to pensions@ucl.ac.uk or sent to Pension Services at Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. 

Please note, if you have not fully completed and signed the Opt Out Form then UCL will not be able to accept it and there may be a delay in completing the process of Opting Out. 

UCL accepts no liability for any delay caused by receipt of an incomplete/unsigned Opt Out Form or any associated loss of your lifetime allowance protection if you do not successfully Opt Out within the required timescale. 

If you return your USS/SAUL Opt Out Form within the required timescale and successfully opt out, you will be treated as though you had not become a member of the scheme. You will receive a refund of contributions and will no longer pay contributions to the scheme. 


Opting-in 

About opting-in 

Please note that if you do not meet the criteria to be automatically enrolled and you are under the age of 75, you may elect to join a pension scheme, which would usually be SAUL or the USS.  Depending on your circumstances, you may not be entitled to receive employer contributions to your pension. 

If you have previously opted-out but wish to rejoin at a future date, you may also opt-in.

If you want to join a pension scheme, please contact Pension Services by email to: pensions@ucl.ac.uk stating that ‘I confirm I personally submitted this notice to join a workplace pension scheme’. On receipt of the email, Pension Services will enter you into SAUL/ the USS for the next available pay period.

Please note that you may only opt in once in any 12 month period.

If you were previously a member of the NHSPS, please confirm this to Pension Services when you contact them.

 

UCL’s Commitment to its Employees

UCL is committed to providing access to a pension scheme if you are under age 75 and work in the UK. UCL must by law continue to maintain your membership of a pension scheme that meets the government's standards and if your membership of the scheme ends (and it is not because of something you do or fail to do), UCL must by law put you into another pension scheme that meets the government standards.