Frequently Asked Questions for employees

Frequently Asked Questions for employees

  1. What is the definition of an ‘employee’?
  2. If I am already a member of a pension scheme, will I be affected?
  3. If I am not a member of a pension scheme, will I be affected?
  4. Will I have to pay into the pension scheme if the University automatically enrols me?
  5. If I don’t meet the criteria on earnings or age, can I still join a pension scheme?
  6. How will I be contacted about auto-enrolment?
  7. Will the University advise me on what to do?
  8. What if I am auto-enrolled by another employer?
  9. What if I do not want to join a pension scheme, can I opt out?
  10. Can I join the salary sacrifice scheme (i.e. Pensions+)?
  11. Where can I find out more about auto-enrolment?

 

1.  What is the definition of an ‘employee’?

Individuals who have a Contract of Employment with the University are deemed to be employees.

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2.  If I am already a member of a pension scheme, will I be affected? 

If you are already a member of USS, RBP or HSC, this legislation will not affect you.  However, the University is obliged, by law, to write to you confirming your membership and informing you that no action needs to be taken.

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3.  If I am not a member of a pension scheme, will I be affected? 

Yes, from 1 May 2013, if you are not a member of USS, RBP or HSC, the University will use your earnings and age to determine how the legislation will affect you.  

For example, you will be automatically enrolled into the relevant pension scheme if you meet all the criteria below:

    • earn at least £833 per month (based on 2015/16 rates),
    • are aged between 22 and state pension age, and
    • work, or ordinarily work, in the UK.

If you do not meet all the criteria, the University will write to you informing you of its assessment and the action that has been taken, or of the options available to you.

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4.  Will I have to pay into the pension scheme if the University automatically enrols me?

Yes, the USS, RBP and HSC pension schemes all require members to make contributions. These member contributions are supplemented by a significant contribution from the University.  The current contribution rates are detailed in the table below:

Pension Scheme Contribution Rates

Scheme

Member

Contribution Rate

University

Contribution Rate

RBP

9.0%

19.0%

USS – Final Salary

7.5%

16.0%

USS - Career Revalued Benefits (‘CRB’)

6.5%

16.0%

HSC

5% - 14.5%

(Tiered depending on pensionable earnings)

16.3%

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5.  If I don’t meet the criteria on earnings or age, can I still join a pension scheme?

Yes, the University encourages all employees to save for their future.  If you wish to join a pension scheme, please put your request in writing to the Pensions Office.

The pension scheme you are eligible to join depends on your grade:

  • Grades 1 to 5 are eligible for RBP
  • Grades 6/Ac1 and above are eligible for USS

Please contact the Pensions Office on 028 9097 3023, or via email pensionshelpdesk@qub.ac.uk, if you are unsure which scheme you are eligible for.

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6.  How will I be contacted about auto-enrolment?

The University will be contacting all employees, via email or letter, to inform them how the legislation affects them.

In order to make sure that you do not miss out on important communications relating to your pension position, it is vital that your contact details are kept up to date.  Please ensure your personal details, such as home address, are up to date by logging into your account via Queen’s Online.

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7.  Will the University advise me on what to do?

No, the University is not authorised to offer advice or guidance on what you should do as a result of the legislation. It is recommended that you seek independent financial advice in relation to your own circumstances.

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8.  What if I am auto-enrolled by another employer?

Under the legislation, each employer is treated separately. This may mean that you are automatically enrolled into different pension schemes by both, or all, of your employers.

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9.  What if I do not want to join a pension scheme, can I opt out?

Yes, in order to opt out you will need to obtain the necessary opt out form from the relevant pension provider.  You will not be able to obtain this from the University.

The legislation requires you to opt out within one calendar month of being automatically enrolled, in order to receive a refund.  If you opt out after this period, you will be treated as an early leaver by the scheme, and you may not be entitled to a refund of your contributions.  The scheme will write to you in relation to the options you have.

You should think carefully about the benefits you are giving up by not being a member of a pension scheme.

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10.  Can I join the salary sacrifice scheme (i.e. Pensions+)? 

If you are auto-enrolled into a pension scheme, you will be put into the salary sacrifice scheme, Pension+, automatically.   This means you will not only receive tax relief on your pension contributions, but you will also pay less national insurance contributions. 

If you do not want to join Pension+, please contact the Pensions Office by calling 028 9097 3023 or emailing pensionshelpdesk@qub.ac.uk

More information about the University’s salary sacrifice scheme can be found here:

http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/FinanceDirectorate/Salaries/Benefits/.

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11.  Where can I find out more about auto-enrolment?

If youwish to know more about auto-enrolment generally, please visit the following websites:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/pensions-reform/workplace-pension-reforms/

https://www.gov.uk/workplacepensions

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/automatic-enrolment.aspx

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