NHS pension scheme
If you have paid contributions to the NHS pension scheme in the 12 months prior to taking up appointment at Imperial, you may wish to elect to continue in the NHS Pension Scheme (it does not matter whether or not your role at the College is clinical). If it is longer than 12 months since you last paid into the scheme, we are not able to offer you continued membership, but you will be able to join one of our workplace pension schemes – either SAUL or USS, depending on your grade.
The NHS Scheme
If you have paid contributions to the NHS pension scheme in the 12 months prior to taking up an appointment at Imperial, you may, if you wish, elect to continue in the NHS Pension Scheme (it does not matter whether or not your role at the College is clinical).
If it is longer than 12 months since you last paid into the scheme, Imperial are not able to offer you continued membership, but you will be able to join one of the College's workplace pension schemes – either SAUL or USS, depending on your grade.
Important: When you are completing your new employee starter checklist on your first day, you must indicate if you have paid contributions to the NHS in the last 12 months. If you tick this box, you will be entered into the NHS pension scheme. Leaving this box blank means you will be entered into one of the College schemes instead.
The scheme and what you will get
There are two separate NHS Pension schemes:
- The 2015 Scheme. The scheme is a Career Average Revalued Earning (CARE) scheme. Your retirement pension is calculated by taking a proportion of your earnings in each year and revaluing them by inflation plus 1.5%. This scheme is open to all members.
- 1995/2008 scheme is a Final Salary pension scheme with your pension in retirement being based on the length of time you are a member and your final salary at retirement or leaving if earlier. This scheme is closed to new entrants and to future accrual. Depending on your age when the new scheme above was introduced, you may have continued be an active member of this section for some time after April 2015, however, all members have now been moved to the 2015 scheme from April 2022. If you have some 1995/2008 scheme membership your pension in that scheme is separate and the final salary link on this pension is still in place. You will separately be building up pension in the 2015 scheme, but this is not linked to your final salary.
Contributions and how much it costs
Your contributions (in either scheme) are as follows:
|Salary range||Percentage of contribution|
|Up to £15,431.99||5.0%|
|£15,432.00 to £21,477.99||5.6%|
|£21,478.00 to £26,823.99||7.1%|
|£26,824.00 to £47,845.99||9.3%|
|£47,846.00 to £70,630.99||12.5%|
|£70,631.00 to £111,376.99||13.5%|
|£111,377.00 and over||14.5%|
Increasing your pension savings
You may wish to top-up the pension you receive in retirement by paying extra, or Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) There are two ways you can do this:
You can buy some Additional Pension (AP). This is a flexible way of increasing your pension and can be done either by a regular payment that comes out of your salary monthly, or by a one-off payment. If you are interested in seeing how much pension you could buy, and the costs, there is a calculator here.
Alternatively, you could invest your extra contributions into a fund that is then used to top up your pension in retirement. These are called Money Purchase AVCs (MPAVCs). The NHS use two providers of MPAVC funds, Standard Life & Prudential, and more information on these can be found here. These contributions are then deducted from your monthly salary along with your normal contributions and would then be invested on your behalf with one of these providers.
For members of the 2015 scheme who have a State Pension Age of greater than 65 (which you can check here) you may also elect to pay a contribution for Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out (ERRBO). This allows you to pay a contribution to buy out the reduction in your pension by one, two or three years to a minimum retirement age of 65. Further information can be found in the ERRBO Factsheet.
Pension contributions qualify for tax relief. The relief is given at source through the payroll for your normal contributions and any AVCs that you might pay. There are limits to the amount that you can save into your pension and still receive tax relief, so you may wish to read this page before decided to pay extra into your pension.