Pension saving for retirement - auto enrolment

The Government has introduced new arrangements to encourage workers to save for their retirement. From April 2013, new legislation requires the University to enrol all workers who are not already members (and meet the criteria listed below) into an appropriate pension scheme who:

  • earn over £10,000 a year
  • are aged 22 or over; and
  • are under State Pension age

The government’s aim is for more people to have another income, on top of the State Pension, when they come to retire. For details of the current state pension see the GOV.UK website

If you are paid on on a claims basis (including TSB workers) or are a Graduate Teaching Assistant

If you are employed on an open-ended or fixed term contract

If you are paid on a claims basis (including Temporary Staff Bank workers) or you are a Graduate Teaching Assistant 

You are eligible to opt-in to the NEST pension scheme.

Automatically enrolment into NEST will apply if in any month your gross pay is at least £833 (approximately).

However, the University will postpone automatic enrolment for three months. This means that, for example, if you were paid £800 in May 2016, you are eligible for automatic enrolment into NEST but you your automatic enrolment will be postponed until August 2016. If you are paid at least £833 in August 2016, you will be automatically enrolled into NEST. If your pay in July 2013 is less than £786 then automatic enrolment will not apply.

We will write to you if you become eligible for automatic enrolment.

Contact the Pay and Benefits Office if you wish to opt-in to NEST before you are automatically enrolled:

Further information about NEST is available on the NEST website.

If you are employed on an open-ended or fixed term contract

If you are currently a member of ERSS, USS or the NHS pension scheme

This change does not affect you while you continue membership of the scheme.

If you are NOT currently a member of ERSS, USS or the NHS pension scheme

You will be enrolled into the appropriate pension scheme applicable to you (details of which are shown below under Appropriate Pension Scheme) from 1 April 2016 if you are an Eligible Worker. The qualification for an Eligible Worker is as follows:

  • earn over £10,000 a year
  • are aged 22 or over; and
  • are under State Pension age

You can choose to opt out of the pension scheme if you want to, but if you stay in, you will have your own pension in addition to the state benefits which you get when you retire. We will write to you again in 1 April 2016 with further information.

Anyone who opts out or stops making payments will be automatically enrolled back into a pension scheme at a later date (usually every three years) if they meet the eligibility criteria. This is because your circumstances may have changed and it may be the right time for you to start saving. We will contact you when this happens, and you can opt out if it’s still not right for you.

If you do not meet all these criteria

You still have the right to opt-in to the appropriate pension scheme – contact the Pay and Benefits Manager.

Appropriate pension scheme criteria

The appropriate pension scheme is:

  • University of Exeter Retirement Savings Scheme (ERSS) for staff in grades A to D
  • Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) for staff in grades E and above
  • Some staff in the Medical School may be able to continue membership of the NHS Pension Scheme

These schemes are 'qualifying pension schemes', which means that they meet or exceed the government’s new standards.

Opting out of your University pension scheme

If you wish to opt out of your University ERSS pension scheme, please fill out the ERSS Withdrawal Form‌ and return it to the Pay and Benefits Office, Human Resources, Northcote House, The Queens Drive, Exeter, EX4 4QJ. Please note if you cannot download the form please contact the Pay and Benefits Office on 01392 723731 or via email

USS opt out

If you wish to opt out of your USS pension scheme, please see the USS website's opting out information.

Further information

Read further information about:

If you have any questions about the scheme or the new legal arrangements, please contact Alison Rose, Pay and Benefits Manager, HR Services. Telephone extension 3088 (01392 723088).