Frequently asked questions

New joiners

What do I pay?

In USS, your contribution is 8% of your gross pensionable pay and the University currently pays 18% contribution for you. You will get tax relief on the contributions you pay. In ERSS, the default employee contribution is 4% of your gross pensionable pay and the University currently pays 6% contribution for you. You will get tax relief on the contributions you pay.

Do I have to join?

Membership in each pension scheme is automatic unless you choose to opt out. If you do not want to join, then you will need to contact the Pay and Benefits Office for a form to opt out, this is best done within the first few weeks of your employment at the University so that no deductions are taken from your pay. However, you can choose to opt out later if you wish.

Can I join at a later date?

If you have decided not to join straight away, or opted out before, you can always ask to join USS/ERSS at a later date. You will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire for the life assurance benefits and a joiner form. You may be asked to pay extra as you joined later, but you will be advised of this at the time.

Can I transfer in benefits from an old scheme?

USS will investigate a transfer of benefits. You will need to complete a form to start the investigation which can be found on the USS members information page. 

Currently in a scheme

Can I pay extra to increase my benefits?

Yes, you can pay what is called Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) for USS. Please visit the USS website which contains information on the USS Investment Builder Arrangement

What happens if I go part time?

Contributions will be taken from your part time salary, for more details please contact the Pay and Benefits Office.

I am going on maternity leave, what happens to my pension?

Please visit the pensions pages on Your USS pension while you are on leave for more details.

What happens if I leave the University?

USS scheme members:

  • Depending on how long you have been in the pension scheme, you will have various choices as to what happens to your benefits. If you have less than two years' membership you can ask for a partial refund of the contributions you have paid into the scheme or leave the benefits in as a frozen pension to collect at normal retirement age. If you choose this option, you could then possibly transfer the benefits to your new employer's scheme, if they have one. If you have more than two years' service the refund option is removed, but you can still choose between a frozen pension or a transfer out to a new scheme.

ERSS scheme members:

  • You have an individual account that the University will cease to make contributions to, however the account is in your name and remains open for you to review and access. There is no refund option under the ERSS arrangements.

Retirement

Can I retire early?

Yes, you may be able to retire early. Find out more about retirement and flexible retirement, or contact the Pay and Benefits Office to discuss.

When can I retire?

Normal retirement age for USS is your 65th birthday. ERSS has no default retirement age.