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Pension Salary Exchange

Arrangements for new appointments

New employees who become members of the USS or ERSS pension scheme become eligible to participate in Pension Salary Exchange after three full calendar months of employment. This means that you will pay employee pension contributions until you have completed three full calendar months’ service and then you will automatically participate in the Pension Salary Exchange scheme from the 1st of the month following this date – unless you exercise your right to opt-out.

Annual renewal

Each year, on 1 April, members of USS and ERSS have the opportunity to choose whether or not they wish to continue to participate in Pension Salary Exchange.

Your choices

  • If you wish to continue to participate in Pension Salary Exchange, you don't have to do anything - you will automatically continue to participate
  • If you have previously decided not to be part of Pension Salary Exchange but would now like to enjoy the benefits of participating in Pension Salary Exchange, you should contact the Pay & Benefits team at no later than 31 March.
  • If you have been participating in Pension Salary Exchange but wish to withdraw from 1 April, you should contact the Pay & Benefits team at to obtain a form. You should submit the completed form no later than 31 March.

More information about the Pension Salary Exchange

Current rates

National Living Wage

You will not be able to participate in Pension Salary Exchange if the combined salary exchange for pension contributions and the salary exchange for any other schemes you may participate in (either now or in the future) would bring your Adjusted Salary to below the National Minimum Wage. It will not be advantageous for you to participate in Pension Salary Exchange if your earnings are close to the National Minimum Wage.

The National Living Wage is £11.44 per hour (from 1 April 2024), or around £21,713 per annum for an employee working a standard 36.5 hour week. We will monitor pay levels and advise you if you are likely to be affected, however if your circumstances change and you think you might fall into this category you should contact the Pay & Benefits team.

Primary Earnings Threshold

It will not be advantageous for you to participate in Pension Salary Exchange if your earnings are close to the Primary Earnings Threshold for NIC purposes.

The Primary Earnings Threshold for the 2024/25 tax year is £12,570 per annum (£1048 per month).

If we think either of the above applies to you, the Pay & Benefits team will contact you separately. However, if you believe that you may fall into one of the above categories, please contact the Pay & Benefits team.

Example of NI savings

The increase in your take home (net) pay depends on your annual salary. The table below gives an estimate of the annual National Insurance Contribution (NIC) savings available to employees who are members of the University of Exeter Retirement Savings Scheme (ERSS), the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). The savings are based on income tax and NIC rates for the 2024/2025 tax year. NIC savings for higher earners are smaller because the rate at which NIC is paid reduces for earnings above the upper earnings limit.

Annual salaryERSS Annual
NIC saving
USS Annual
NIC saving
£15,000  £72.00  £73.20
£20,000  £96.00  £97.60
£25,000  £120.00  £122.00
£30,000  £144.00  £146.40
£35,000    £170.80
£40,000    £195.20
£45,000    £219.60
£50,000    £244.00
£55,000    £67.10
£60,000     £73.20
£65,000   £79.30
£70,000   £85.40