Your responsibilities when staff are in service
Your responsibilities when staff are in service
Contributions to an outside pension provider
Overpayments of partnership and AVCs contributions
Incorrect payments of contributions
Change in employee contribution
Changing partnership pension providers
Retrospective pay awards
Buying added pension
Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
Secondment and injury benefits
Transfers or loans within the Civil Service and concurrent employment
Change of MyCSP, Pension Service Centre
Transfers to the EU and coordinated organisations
Changing pension arrangements
Injury off duty
Payment into the CS vote
Sick Pay at Pension Rate (SPPR)
Annex 5A - Model text for office notice or letters
Annex 5B - The National Archives - Records Management Retention Scheduling
Annex 5C - Table showing contributions and if service is reckonable
Annex 5D - Opting Out Process A
5.1.1 The Members section contains comprehensive information for scheme members, including contact details for your MyCSP Pension Service Centre.
Information for members
5.1.2 MyCSP is responsible for handling most enquiries from members. You must direct a member to the CSP website if they have a question about the Civil Service Pension arrangements. They can also ask MyCSP directly if they have a question about.
- annual benefit statements – a member may question the information shown on their statement. MyCSP will deal with these questions, but you will need to deal with any payroll data queries
- enquiries about buying added pension or relating to ongoing added years or pension contracts.
- making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)
- making a change to a death benefit nomination – members can nominate who should be paid death benefit. The forms are available here.
- Civil Service pension valuations or enquiries for divorce purposes – pension benefits can be taken into account when a member negotiates their divorce settlement. MyCSP must give the member or their representatives certain information to do this.
- dependants’ benefits
- opting out, rejoining and automatic re-enrolment into the Civil Service Pension scheme (see 5.9)
- switching schemes (see note 1)
- applying to transfer their pension benefits in another scheme into the Civil Service Pension arrangements.
- alpha members can also request to make contributions to an EPA portion of their alpha pension.
Note 1 - You will need to establish how MyCSP tells your payroll of changes in contributions rates that may occur in these circumstances, if you have not already done so.
5.1.3 We publish a series of scheme booklets and leaflets. Members can view and download these from the website or ask MyCSP to give them a copy of the leaflet they need. Employers are generally responsible for giving only new members information (see section 4). You may order the pension choices overview leaflets and “Thinking about retirement” booklet for use with prospective recruits and leavers. Section 4 gives you more information about ordering these publications.
5.1.4 From time to time we will ask you to give members information and guidance about the scheme or changes to the schemes. We will normally ask you to issue an office notice and give you the text to use. We ask that you do not change this text because of the technical nature of pensions. These notices must be issued quickly, as failure to give members timely information could lead to compensation claims against you if members miss a valuable opportunity. You may be held responsible for any financial loss that arises from the missed opportunity.
5.1.5 You must arrange with MyCSP to provide members with an annual benefit statement. This will tell the member about the pension benefits they have earned in the Civil Service Pension arrangements so far and what their benefits are likely to be at their pension age.
5.2.1 You must agree with MyCSP the arrangements for telling them about changes in a member’s circumstances. You must pass on to MyCSP any information that may affect a member’s pension. This includes:
- member’s unpaid leave and absences
- if a member enters in to a civil partnership or marriage, becomes divorced or widowed
- where the member is unpaid but is treated as receiving assumed/notional pay
- if they work part time or change their working hours
- if they go on secondment
- if they stop paying AVCs
- if they have a retrospective pay award you should tell MyCSP the effective date of the salary increase.
This means you must have a procedure in place to monitor changes in members’ conditions of service or personal circumstances. This is important because any change may affect the member’s scheme membership or benefits.
5.2.2 You have a responsibility to send MyCSP accurate and up to date data. MyCSP cannot give members correct pension information if the records they hold are incomplete, incorrect or out of date. The arrangements you agree with MyCSP must give them member details that are robust enough to minimise the chance of an error. Section 8 gives more details about your responsibility for data accuracy. The Participation Agreement can be found under Annex 2B.
5.2.3 The National Archives set out the guidance on retention of personal records. It gives you some discretion about what records you wish to keep. www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/sched_personnel.pdf. Please see Annex 5B.
5.3.1 classic members pay a percentage of pensionable earnings towards the cost of scheme benefits. This includes a contribution of 1.5% towards the cost of paying a widow’s, widower’s or civil partner’s pension. Members’ can ask to pay additional units of 1.5% of pensionable earnings either to clear a debt of a period of reckonable service for which they paid no contributions or to anticipate the contributions due if they retire early with enhanced service. You must ensure that your payroll provider is told of such an option promptly so they can start collecting the additional contributions. Since 2012 classic members have been paying a percentage of pensionable earnings towards scheme benefits.
5.3.2 premium, classic plus, nuvos and alpha members pay a percentage of pensionable earnings towards scheme benefits.
5.3.3 partnership members can choose to pay the level of contribution they want to make. This includes paying no contributions.
Pension contributions are subject to tax relief see www.hmrc.gov.uk for details.
5.3.4 You have to make an employer contribution towards all your employees’ pension arrangements. This is called the Accruing Superannuation Liability Charge (ASLC). Here tells you more about the level of contributions you need to make. Section 3.5 gives more information on the payment of ASLCs.
5.3.5 partnership pension account is a stakeholder type of pension. Because of this it is covered by regulations about the recording and timing of contributions. This also applies to Additional Voluntary Contributions.
These regulations are enforced by The Pensions Regulator. If you or your payroll provider does not send the contributions within the statutory time limit of 19 days from the end of the month in which the payroll was run, the pension providers are obliged to tell The Pension Regulator. It is not the responsibility of pension providers to chase late contributions. This means that unless you tell the pension provider why the member’s contributions have not been sent to them they will report them to the Pension Regulator as “not received”. Because of this it is important that you tell the pension provider the reason contributions have not been sent. The reasons could include:
- the member has moved to another employer covered by the Civil Service Pension arrangements
- the member has left the Civil Service
- the member is taking a contribution holiday i.e. where the member is on a career break or unpaid leave
- the member has retired
- the member has changed their pension provider
- the member has died
- the member has switched between pension schemes
The Pension Regulator will publish on their website any employers who fail to meet these requirements. The Pensions Regulator will fine an employer who persistently fails to meet their statutory obligations.
For details about payments see sections 3.5 and 4.2.
5.3.6 If you make a partnership or AVC overpayment to a pension provider you can recoup the contributions, please contact the pension provider. You should not ask for a refund where the member has left part way through a month. You must not offset overpaid contributions against contributions due in the following months.
5.3.7 If you deduct too many contributions from a member’s salary this should be treated as an underpayment of salary.
If a member underpays contributions, you should seek to recover from the member after you have paid the money owing to the Civil Superannuation Vote.
5.3.8 There are times when a member is treated as still building up reckonable service despite being unpaid. This will apply to members and partnership members who are:
- seconded to a different employer under an arrangement where they continue to be a member of the Civil Service Pension arrangements. See section 5.5 for more information.
- on sick leave on reduced pay.
- being paid statutory maternity pay after 23 June 1994.
- receiving other forms of statutory pay, including; adoption pay, ordinary statutory paternity pay, additional statutory paternity pay, statutory paternity pay for adoption.
- on ordinary maternity leave after 19 October 1994.
- on ordinary adoption leave.
- on paternity leave.
- on unpaid leave for a period which the Minister for the Civil Service has agreed can count as reckonable service. For example where the member is allowed time off to undertake public duty such as service as a magistrate.
- absent from duty because they have been called out or recalled for permanent service in the reserve forces.
- being paid at a reduced rate because of the abatement rules.
- voluntarily surrendering pensionable earnings.
You must continue to make ASLC payments either to the Civil Superannuation vote or the members chosen pension provider. You do this on the basis of assuming that the member was paid normally during these special circumstances. The employee cannot make contributions during the period their special circumstances apply. But partnership members can make increased contributions on their return to normal working.
Annex 5C shows what contributions are due and what reckons during sick leave, maternity leave and paternity leave.
5.3.9 Those contributing to partnership or making AVCs may ask to change the rate of their investment or stop altogether. The member should give you 3 months’ notice in writing. The individual must let you know in time for you to tell your payroll provider before the payroll run in which the member wants the change to take effect. You should send the notification to the pension provider.
5.3.10 Members can switch partnership pension providers. When someone is changing partnership pension provider they will need to complete an application for their chosen new provider. You should ask the member to give you 3 months’ notice to allow your payroll to make the necessary change. You should act on the application form as set out in section 4.2. You must tell your payroll provider to stop paying contributions to the former pension provider. They should start to pay over the contributions to the member’s new pension provider. The payroll provider must send the schedule for the month the change was made to both pension providers. The status code is “5”.
5.3.11 When you make a retrospective pay award that straddles more than one financial year you must calculate the arrears of employer and member contributions. This includes added pension or added years contributions and AVCs. You do this by using the percentage rates that are set in the each year that the period covers. For classic, classic plus and premium members the percentage rates are shown in Annex 1A. Details of the employer contribution rates for partnership members can be found here. You must check if a partnership member has had a birthday during the period covered by the retrospective pay increase. The arrears of ASLCs and employee contributions must be sent to the CS vote in the normal way, see section 3.5.
Previously in the nuvos scheme, retrospective adjustments for pay awards after the “year-end” process was completed were not permitted.
Retrospective adjustments paid in the 2014-15 scheme year, or later, can now be allocated to the scheme year the pay was due, and so it can be included in a previously closed year. However this cannot happen if the pay was due in the 2013-14 scheme year or earlier.
If the pay change was due for the 2013-14 scheme year (or earlier) the retrospective pay change should be reflected in the members’ 2014-15 earnings etc.
This also applies to the alpha scheme, retrospective changes to pay / earnings should be issued to the scheme administrators, MyCSP, on the dates the payment is due, and not the date when the amount was paid.
Increasing pension contributions
5.4.1 classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos and alpha members can opt to pay extra contributions to buy added pension. They can pay by lump sum or by monthly contributions from salary. Added pension replaced added years in 2008, but existing added years contracts could continue.
There is information for members on added pension on the Publicatons page.
An annual reminder (EPN), with an application form, is issued in time for new monthly contributions from 1 April.
Added pension in alpha is bought in the new scheme, so is separate to any added pension bought in one of the PCSPS schemes. It is therefore subject to a separate maximum limit.
A member can have bought the maximum permitted amount of added pension in their PCSPS pension and then buy the maximum in the alpha scheme.
The maximum limits will be included in the annual EPN.
5.4.2 If a member moves from half pay or sick pay at pension rate to no pay, you must suspend their added pension contributions. But the member can make cash payments equal to the contributions that would have been taken from their salary had they not gone on to reduced pay. The member should contact MyCSP to do this.
Please note: There are considerations for members of classic, classic plus, premium, and nuvos who moved into alpha on or after 1 April 2015. If these members were buying added years or added pension by regular contributions as part of an ongoing option, they are able to continue buying their added years or added pension in their previous scheme until they choose to cancel / leave or they reach the agreed end date of their option (eg. They reach age 60 and their added years contributions must stop).
If they choose to cancel their added pension or added years contributions into their PCSPS scheme, they cannot be restarted. The member will keep the addition pension, or service, they have bought to the point they cancel.
You can find more information on added pension (and continuing added years contracts) for members of alpha here.
5.4.3 The Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS) is a statutory scheme made under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972. The CSAVCS came into force on 1 January 1989. It allows classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos and alpha members to pay AVCs to one or more of the following pension providers: Scottish Widows (SW) or Standard Life (SL).
5.4.4 Members who pay AVCs build up a fund which they can use to:
- buy an annuity to increase retirement income
- increase widow’s or widower’s benefits
5.4.5 If a member asks to pay AVCs you should tell them to contact the CSAVC provider. (See annex 1D). Employees with a partnership pension account cannot make AVCs. But they can ask to pay more contributions towards their partnership account.
AVC benefit statements
5.4.6 The AVC providers will produce a benefit statement for each member that includes a statutory money purchase illustration (SMPI). The SMPI gives the member the value of their AVC fund and an illustration of the projected retirement income that the fund will give them. Scottish Widows and Standard Life send the benefit statements to members’ home addresses, but Equitable Life (whose scheme is now closed to new members) send the benefit statements to MyCSP to mail to members.
5.4.7 Members of alpha are able to pay an additional contribution to buy an EPA portion of the pension. This portion can be paid (without any early payment reduction) before a member’s NPA. They can choose from a selection of EPA options, each with a different level of contribution attached to it.
They can usually choose an EPA that can be payable one, two or three years before their NPA, and they can find the cost of each EPA by using the EPA contribution calculator available here.
A member can only buy one EPA at a time. But they can change the option they are buying at a later date. So some members may build up multiple EPA pension pots.
EPA can be paid a number of years before a member's NPA. If their State Pension age changes, their NPA changes too. Their EPA can still be paid without any reduction one, two or three years before their new, later, NPA.
There is information for members about EPA on the Civil Service Pensions website, in the alpha main scheme guide. The EPA application form can be found on the forms page of the website.
5.4.8 A member's EPA portion (or portions) of their pension can only be paid when they rtire (either fully or partially).
Each EPA portion can be paid without any reduction a set amount of time before the members NPA (eg one year before the NPA). If it is paid earlier than the set amount of time it will be reduced for early payment, or if it is paid later, it may be increased for late payment.
For example an NPA minus two EPA that is claimed three years before the NPA will be reduced for early payment.
5.4.9 EPA contributions can start from a members start date (if the application is made within three months of joining) or from 1 April each year. When buying an EPA from their start date, contributions are due from that date too, and they must be deducted from the members pay as soon as possible.
EPA contributions are deducted from the pensionable elements of the members pay.
5.4.10 You must ensure that you send detail of the EPA contributions separately to the member’s main scheme contributions.
5.4.11 When buying an EPA portion of their pension a member must agree to continue paying contributions until the end of the scheme year, 31 March. They cannot choose to cancel their EPA, and must continue to make payments. However if a member leaves the pension scheme their EPA contributions will stop.
5.4.12 The scheme administrator, MyCSP, will inform you when a member has chosen to buy an (or restart a previous) EPA, and will issue you an instruction to deduct a specific percentage of the pensionable elements of their pay, and from what date.
You will normally receive this information in sifficient time for payroll action to be taken with effect from the EPA start date, but where this is not possible you will need to collect backdated contributions.
5.4.13 The level of EPA contribution is linked to a member’s age, and so it is likely that the contributions will change each scheme year. Any cancellations can only take effect from the end of a scheme year. The scheme administrators will let you know the new level of member’s deductions, or to stop taking deductions, in time to make the changes for the start of the next scheme year.
5.4.14 Members who go onto assumed (notional) pay will have the choice to suspend their EPA contributions. They must contact you, the employer, to discuss the impact of receiving assumed pay. It is the employer’s responsibility to process suspension requests, and if the member chooses to do, this takes effect for the date they send their request.
If the member does not choose to suspend their EPA contributions you must deduct their contributions from their reduced pay.
5.4.15 If a member suspends their EPA, they can choose to restart their EPA from the date their period of assumed pay ends. They must submit their request in enough time to allow you to set up the deductions in the first payroll period following their return to normal pay.
You must inform the member that if they do not restart their EPA it will remain suspended. They will have a choice to restart from the start of the next scheme year.
5.4.16 If a member with an EPA leaves the scheme and rejoins alpha in five years or less, their EPA will be automatically restarted from the date they returned to pensionable service.
5.4.17 There is further information on EPA, including the information you will need to provide here.
5.5.1 Staff that are seconded to an outside employer do not cease to be civil servants.
5.5.2 Before a member begins their secondment their pension position in their absence must be decided. Subject to the rules on pay and employment, the secondment terms can be negotiated between the borrowing employer, the lending employer and the secondee. You must give the outward secondee a written statement stating the effect their secondment will have on their pension. You will need to base the statement on the terms you agreed with the borrowing employer for the secondment to go ahead.
5.5.3 The information given in Table 3 ‘Secondment arrangements for members’ of the Civil Service Pension arrangements will help you decide these terms. If you wish to offer alternative pension arrangements for members on secondment to those set out in table 3 you must ask Cabinet Office, The Pension Schemes Executive, for permission before the loan begins.
5.5.4 You must agree with the borrowing employer and the member if they are covered for injury benefits before the secondment begins. You must give the secondee a written statement explaining who is providing the injury benefit cover and what the cover is. To help the member to decide whether or not to take the secondment you may wish to give them a copy of the scheme booklet about injury benefits.
5.5.5 If the outward secondee does not remain an active member of the Civil Service Pension arrangements the borrowing employer (or the borrowing employer’s pension scheme) should provide injury benefit cover. Before the secondment begins you need to find out if the borrowing employer will give the secondee injury benefit cover. You must tell the member if they are being given this cover. In cases where the borrowing employer does not have an injury benefit arrangement it is for the secondee to decide if they want to accept the secondment without injury cover. In these circumstances, the secondee may wish to take out private insurance.
There are four options when a secondment involves a member of the Civil Service Pension Scheme, summarised in Table 3:
|Outward secondment arrangements for CSP members|
|Salary||Member remains active member of Civil Service Pensions during secondment?||Applicable to part-time secondments?||ASLC (Employer Contribution)||Other payments|
|You pay Civil Service salary and employer's NI contributions
|Yes||Yes||You must pay the ASLC and recover the amount from the borrowing emplyer (NOTE E) (NOTE G)||
Borrowing employer reimburses:
|Borrowing employer pays salary and employer's NI contributions||Yes||Yes||You must pay the ASLC based on notional Civil Service salary and recover the amount from the borrowing employer
|Secondee pays member's contributions based on their notional Civil Service salary (NOTE B) (NOTE E)|
|Borrowing employer pays
salary and employer’s NI
Secondee joins borrowing employer’s
another arrangement. (NOTE C)
|No||No ASLC is due.||
No member’s contributions are due to the CS Vote.
|Unpaid special leave||No (NOTE D) (NOTE J)||No||No ASLC is due.||
No member’s contributions are
A You should continue to make deductions for employee’s national insurance contributions, national savings, trade union subscriptions etc. from the member’s salary.
B Member contributions may include:
- widow’s or widower’s pension contributions
- added years contributions, and
- AVCs These contributions are based on assumed pay:
- the notional civil service salary for classic members
- the ‘assumed’ civil service salary for premium members
C The individual can choose to either retain accrued pension benefits in the Civil Service Pension arrangements (see D below) or transfer their benefits to the borrowing employer’s scheme. MyCSP can give you information about how a transfer is made.
D Accrued pension benefits are retained in the Civil Service Pension arrangements. The period of secondment does not reckon towards Civil Service Pension arrangement benefits. But a transfer value of the benefits the member accrued in the borrowing employer’s scheme can be made into the Civil Service Pension arrangements. Those who are on unpaid (or paid) special leave are not covered by the CSIBS.
E You must send the ASLC paid by the borrowing employer and the employee’s pension contributions to the CS Vote. You must also send partnership and AVCs to the relevant pension provider. MyCSP will keep the secondee’s pension record. You must tell MyCSP that the member is a secondee.
F If the borrowing employer’s scheme is by-analogy to the Civil Service Pension arrangements the secondee may not be able to join the by-analogy scheme. This is because, like the Civil Service Pension arrangements, by-analogy schemes may not allow inward secondees to join the scheme.
G The borrowing employer normally meets the ASLC cost. However, the secondee can pay the ASLC or they and the borrowing employer can meet the cost together. There may be occasions when you wish to provide the services for a member free or at a reduced charge. If you do this you must pay the full ASLC to the CS Vote. In exceptional circumstances Cabinet Office, The Pension Schemes Executive, may agree before the secondment starts, to reduce or waive the ASLC.
H The borrowing employer’s scheme will pay a transfer value to the Civil Service Pension Scheme. MyCSP will use this to calculate the member’s service credit using their salary on their return.
J A secondee who does not remain a member during their secondment cannot continue to pay added years or added pension contributions during their secondment. They can resume paying added pension contributions when they return to the Civil Service Pension arrangements. To make up the pension that they were unable to buy the member could increase their contributions.
As a borrowing employer you must tell an inward secondee to ask their lending employer for information about how their secondment affects their pension. An inward secondee may not be able to join the Civil Service Pension arrangements. This will have been decided when agreeing the secondment terms. You should ask MyCSP about the pension implications before offering the secondment and entering into any agreement with the lending employer.
Normally when the inward secondee stays in their lending employers’ pension scheme they will continue to have injury benefit cover from them. You must ask the lending employer if they will continue injury benefit cover before the secondment begins. If there is no injury benefit cover you must decide whether or not to offer CSIBS coverage during the secondment.
5.6.1 Staff that are transferred or loaned between employers covered by Civil Service Pensions remain in the scheme of their choice, unless they decide to switch, opt in or opt out. However, for those who are transferred (but not loaned) who have already opted out and their receiving employer has staged for automatic enrolment, they must be re-enrolled by the receiving employer into the section of the scheme they would have been in if they had not opted out. The sending employer must in all cases complete form OGDTF1 at annex 6B. (See Section 4.4 for more information about automatic enrolment). It is your responsibility to ensure that your payroll and MyCSP have good procedures to export or import the transferred or loaned member’s details.
5.6.2 For all members you must complete form CSP Trans 1 at annex 6A when a member joins you or leaves you to work for another employer covered by Civil Service Pensions. You should complete the form as soon as you agree the transfer with the other employer and send the form to MyCSP.
5.6.3 Content removed - Transfer of member record no longer applies.
5.6.4 Content removed.
5.6.5 When a partnership member leaves you, you must tell your payroll provider to give the pension provider the new employer’s details on the last data file they send them. You will find the status codes to be used at annex 4H.
5.6.6 The previous employer must give the new employer details of the pension provider and contributions the member has paid. The new employer must tell their payroll provider immediately so that the member’s contributions are deducted correctly in the first month they are paid.
5.6.7 A member may have two separate employments both covered by the Civil Service Pension arrangements. Both employments must be treated separately for pension purposes. Each employment builds up pension benefits in their own right. So if a classic member secures a second job covered by the Civil Service Pension arrangements they should be treated as if they were a new entrant in that employment. You should send them a new joiner pack giving the usual choices about their pension. The member’s pension arrangements in their first employment remain undisturbed unless they opt to make a change.
5.7.1 This section applies to transfers to employment in the EU (covered by the Communities Pension Scheme (CPS), and the following coordinated organisations listed below:
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and its agencies (Your MyCSP Pension Service Centre can advise you of the NATO agencies covered)
- The Council of Europe
- The Western European Union (WEU)
- The European Space Agency (ESA)
- The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts
5.7.2 Members who join one of these organisations are treated as having left the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements. This is the case even if the member has the right to return to the Civil Service.
- will be awarded the pension benefit they have accrued, or
- may apply for a transfer value to be paid to the Communities Pension Scheme (CPS) or to one of the coordinated organisations pension arrangements.
5.7.3 If a member asks to transfer rights to one of these organisations they should contact MyCSP who will determine if a transfer is possible and calculate the transfer value where appropriate.
5.7.4 You must tell members planning to join an EU or coordinated organisations what will happen to their pension. Before they start their overseas appointment you should tell the member that:
- former members who return from the EU or a coordinated organisation to a CSP employer are treated as new entrants to the CSP arrangements. They start a fresh period of pensionable service (unless the two periods of service are compulsorily aggregated).
- if a former member returns to the CSP arrangements, they can ask to transfer their accrued benefits in the overseas scheme to the CSP arrangements. The transfer value is treated in exactly the same way as a transfer from any other outside employer. The transfer value is converted into reckonable service in the CSP arrangements on a non-Club basis.
5.7.5 Former members who do not ask for a transfer value of their pension rights from the EU and coordinated organisations scheme will be paid a cash severance grant if they are under age 60 and have not completed 10 years’ actual service at the time they leave.
5.7.6 MyCSP can tell you about the pension options available to a member returning after taking a cash severance grant. These options apply to a member returning from employment with OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation en matiere d’Armement/Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). OCCAR is not one of the coordinated organisations.
5.7.7 You must tell HMRC about a member returning to the CSP arrangements from the EU or coordinated organisation.
5.8.1 A salary sacrifice happens when an employee gives up part of the cash pay due under their employment contract. In return their employer gives them some form of non-cash benefit. The sacrifice varies the employee’s employment terms and conditions relating to their pay.
5.8.2 Members will pay less National Insurance Contributions, this could impact on State Benefits and they should contact the Department for Work and Pensions for details.
5.8.3 A reduction of an employee’s salary normally affects their pension benefits. The employee’s pension rights will normally be worth less because of the reduction in their pensionable earnings. Employees sacrificing salary do not suffer a reduction in pension. You must tell MyCSP about the member’s salary sacrifice. When working out the employee’s pensionable earnings MyCSP will ignore the salary sacrifice. MyCSP will use the member’s pre-sacrifice salary to work out their pensionable earnings. You must make sure that your payroll provider records the amount of salary the employee sacrifices as a notional permanent pensionable allowance. You must base the members’ contributions on their pre-sacrifice salary. The ASLC you pay will also be based on the members’ pre-sacrifice salary.
5.9.1 Members eligible to join both partnership and premium, nuvos or alpha can switch between either scheme once in either direction. This means that they can switch from partnership to premium, nuvos or alpha (as applicable) only once and from premium, nuvos or alpha to partnership only once. A member opting for partnership within the first 3 months of service and having that choice backdated to day one does not count as a switch. You must ask the member to complete a Pension Switch Form. You should decide with MyCSP if the member returns the form to you or them. A copy of the Pension Switch form can be found here.
Please note that from 1 October 2015 alpha members who had been previously excluded from partnership (because they joined before 1 October 2002) are now able to switch to and from partnership.
5.9.2 You must:
- process any partnership provider application form in the normal way. Sending it to the member’s chosen provider; (See section 4.2)
- send the completed Pension Switch form to MyCSP (if the member returned it to you first);
- tell your payroll provider in good time to change the member’s contributions.
For member changing from partnership to premium, nuvos or alpha, the switch should be identified on the final data file sent by payroll to the partnership provider using status code ‘7’.
Members choosing to switch back into nuvos or premium may be eligible to be moved into alpha, you must ensure you check these members against the eligibility criteria (section 4).
Members have the right to opt out of the Civil Service Pension arrangements. The member must complete the latest version of the Opt Out form.
5.9.3 If a member is not able to access the internet or download documents from the website, or if they have any questions about opting out, they should contact MyCSP for a copy of the form and any advice.
Please note: the employer must not ask or force an employee to opt out, or do anything that might suggest that they have. For this reason, it is important that the employer does not give Opt Out forms to employees. The employer must either refer the member to the latest version of the Opt Out form and factsheet, or tell them to contact their MyCSP Pension Service Centre for a copy of the form or any advice.
5.9.4 To ensure that the opting out process can be managed and monitored and any automatic enrolment obligations met, a revised single opt out process has been introduced. The employer is now responsible for taking appropriate and timely action to process requests from members to opt out of the Civil Service Pension arrangements, before copying information to MyCSP to update their records. The single opt out process applies regardless of whether or not a department has staged for automatic enrolment, which scheme the member wishes to opt out of, or their reason for opting out.
5.9.5 To Opt Out:
- The member should complete and sign the Opt Out form and return it to their employer.
- The employer (HR/Payroll) must insert a date received (or date stamp) in the appropriate box on the Opt Out form as soon as they receive it - see note A below.
- The employer must then complete the rest of the employer section of the form ensuring that information is complete and accurate.
- The employer should complete the employer information at the end of the form which should be signed by an appropriate HR/Payroll representative.
- The employer should then follow the Opt Out process (A or B, depending on whether or not they have staged for automatic enrolment), as explained and illustrated in Annex 5D.
- MyCSP will check copies of Opt Out forms received to ensure they have been date stamped on receipt and completed by the employer. Any forms that do not have received date or completed employer section to show that they have been processed by the employer first will be returned. MyCSP will process fully completed Opt Out forms received and take necessary administrative action.
Note A: An opting out period begins from the date that an employee is enrolled into a qualifying scheme or (if later) receives a letter from the employer stating that they have been enrolled into a scheme. An Opt Out request is valid from the date the form is received by the employer. Therefore, it is extremely important (particularly for two groups of employees - see note B below), that the employer date stamps any Opt Out forms they receive on the day they receive them.
Note B: The three month opting out period for new starters who wish to opt out of the PCSPS and receive a full refund of their contributions, will continue to apply under the scheme rules, irrespective of automatic enrolment legislation. However, for employees who have previously opted out of the scheme and are automatically enrolled from the employer’s staging date, there are two groups who must opt out within one month of being automatically enrolled if they wish to protect their existing pension status:
- Employees with fixed protection will need to opt out within one month in order to keep their fixed protection;
- Employees with a previous preserved pension in a Civil Service scheme will need to opt out within one month if they wish to receive a refund of contributions made from the automatic enrolment date. It is therefore, particularly important that the employees in the above groups complete and submit an Opt Out form quickly and that it is received (and date stamped) by the employer within one month of the start of the opting out period.
5.9.6 The process for refunding member’s contributions and assessing further actions needed has also been revised for those departments that have staged for automatic enrolment. Please see Annex 5D for information about the revised processes and illustrative flowcharts.
Please note: the employer should not process refunds automatically if they have not staged for automatic enrolment. If the employer has staged for automatic enrolment they should only give a refund if they have automatically enrolled the employee who is opting out and received the opting out form within one month of the start of the opting out period. In all other cases, the employer must follow the process for ‘NO’ on the Opt Out form or the relevant flowchart.
5.9.7 Once the employer has completed actions to process an Opt Out form and sent a copy of the completed form to MyCSP, MyCSP will write to the member. MyCSP will remind the member what the implications are of opting out and will ask the member to confirm that they want to opt out. If the member confirms their decision to opt out or subsequently decides that they want to stay in the scheme, MyCSP will tell you if there are further actions you need to take.
5.9.8 Employees choosing to opt out no longer accrue pension benefits in the Civil Service Pension arrangements. But they may remain entitled to compensation payments and injury benefits. MyCSP can tell you more about the treatment of optants out.
5.9.9 Employees who opt out can only choose to opt back in to the section of the scheme that they would have been in if they had not opted out. Members must give you written notice of their intention to opt out or to opt back in, which will take place at their next available pay day.
5.9.10 Employees who opted out of classic can choose to opt back in to classic only. If they work for a department that has not yet staged for automatic enrolment, the current scheme rules will apply so they can opt back in only once and must be below age 55.
Please note: Once an employer has staged for automatic enrolment, the legislation allows for a member of that organisation to opt back into a scheme once in any 12 month period.
Please note: following the introduction of alpha, when a member chooses to opt back into the Civil Service Pension arrangements they may not be able to rejoin their previous scheme. Instead they may only be able to join the alpha scheme. You must check the member against the eligibility criteria (Section 4).
5.9.11 Under automatic enrolment legislation, departments must re-enrol all workers who are not currently in a pension scheme three years after the initial staging date and at every three year interval following this. This is known as the ‘anniversary date’ (see note below for exceptions). Those who have opted out of the Civil Service pension arrangements (CS pension arrangements) must normally be re-enrolled in the section of the scheme that they opted out of. Your MyCSP Pension Service Centre will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CS pension arrangements to re-enrol optants out into.
Please note: if an employee has opted out within the 12 months prior to the employer’s ‘anniversary date’, they should not normally be re-enrolled until the next ‘anniversary date’.
Re-enrolment of people who opt out before age 22 and/or whilst earning below the specified minimum
5.9.12 If an employee opts out of the PCSPS after being automatically enrolled on their department’s staging date, whilst below age 22 and earning less than the specified minimum, they must be automatically re-enrolled once both these criteria are met.
- if an employee opts out of the PCSPS (and does not join partnership) below age 22, their employer must automatically enrol them into the PCSPS once they reach age 22 – irrespective of when they last opted out.
- similarly if someone opts out (and does not join partnership) whilst earning less than the specified minimum, they must be automatically re-enrolled if their earnings rise up to or above that minimum.
Please see section 4.4 of the Employers’ Pension Guide for more information about the employer’s responsibilities under automatic enrolment.
Enrolling employees into alpha
5.9.13 When alpha was introduced on 1 April 2015 a large portion of existing scheme members were moved into the scheme.
There are some members (including some new entrants who joined on or after 1 April 2015) who will move schemes at a later date, based on how close they were to their normal retirement age, and/or their public service pension scheme history.
These members are referred to as having a ‘tapered enrolment date’ and it is the employers responsibility to migrate their employees into alpha on this date.
There are tapered enrolment dates once every two months between 1 April 2015 and February 2022.
There are some members who will not move into alpha (the "fully protected" group, those who passed the presence test in 2012 and 2015, and were within 10 years of their NPA on 1 April 2012.
5.9.14 There are some further exceptions to who will not move into alpha and will remain in their current scheme:
- Members employed locally overseas
- Members (or those eligible to be members) of schemes other than the Civil Service Pension arrangements
- Members of the partnership pension scheme
- Members with an ongoing IHR application.
If the member's situation changes they may no longer be part of the exception group, and their eligibility may change.
5.9.15 The scheme administrator, MyCSP, ran an exercise for existing members during 2014, and will have informed you which of your employees were eligible for a tapered enrolment date.
5.9.16 Employers also have a responsibility to collect information from new employees about their public service pension scheme history. The Pension Questionnaire asks for this information for use in the in the Joiner Tool. The questionnaire and tool will help you to establish the date a member should move schemes.
5.9.17 Employers must migrate (move) their employees on the correct date, the scheme administrator will not prompt you.
If an employee has an ill-health retirement (IHR) application underway at the date they should move into alpha, this will delay the point at which you can move them into alpha.
You must not move these employees into alpha until they receive their final IHR decision. This will be either when they are granted IHR, or it has not been agreed and the employee has exhausted the appeals procedure.
If IHR is granted: the employee will not move into alpha and will receive IHR from their current scheme. You must follow the IHR procedures for the member's current scheme, and notify the scheme administrator who will work out the member's IHR pension.
If IHR is not granted: the employee must be moved into alpha on the final decision date. This is the day after the date of the scheme medical adviser's decision that the employee's IHR application is unsuccessful. The member must have used all available appeal options, before they move schemes.
There is more information on migration available here.
And there is more information on IHR here.
5.10.1 The Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme (CSIBS) applies to most individuals employed in the Civil Service not just members. The CSIBS pays benefits to members who have:
- suffered a qualifying injury in the course of their official duty or during an activity reasonably incidental to duty; and
- as a result their earning capacity has been impaired.
5.10.2 Employees who have suffered a qualifying injury may also benefit from extended sick leave. You can find out more about this in the Civil Service Management Code.
5.10.3 Normally MyCSPdecides if a member has suffered an injury that may qualify them for benefit. MyCSP may take the advice of the Scheme Medical Advisor. But MyCSP always makes the decision if the member has a qualifying injury.
5.10.4 Employers meet the cost of injury benefits. Injury benefit may be paid when:
- the member is on sick leave due to their injury and they are paid at less than the full rate.
- when they are downgraded or work in a different capacity with impaired earnings because of their injury.
- when the individual leaves your employment.
You must tell MyCSP of any of these events within 30 days.
5.10.5 If the individual dies their injury benefits can be paid to their dependents. This includes dependent parents and siblings.
5.10.6 The level of injury benefit paid to the member can be affected if you pay them damages or they are paid compensation. It is important that you tell MyCSP if the individual asks you for damages and keep them informed of progress.
You can also compensate staff and their dependents on service overseas who are injured as a result of terrorist or criminal activities.
5.10.7 The CSCS Personal Injury Compensation arrangement gives benefits comparable to those of a typical travel insurance scheme. The benefits are paid to a person whose duties have taken them far away enough from their normal workplace to justify an overnight stay and then are injured – to the extent of losing at least one limb or eye or killed whilst off duty. This is regardless of whether the individual was actually planning to stay away from home. Benefits are paid at one of three flat rates. The individual’s employer meets the cost of the benefit.
5.10.8 You do not have to pay the cost of injury benefit for injuries that your staff sustained before 1 April 1998. This is the case even when the benefit may be paid after that date. If the injury happens after that date you must meet the cost of injury benefits. The pensioner payroll department will arrange for the costs to be collected from you by direct debit or will send you bills.
5.11.1 Once the pensioner payroll department has calculated the level of the member’s pension abatement on rejoining it will not normally change during their re-employment. The level of abatement is not affected by an annual increase in the member’s re-employed salary.
5.11.2 However, you will need to complete box B or C of form CSP13 (see EPG, Chapter 4, Annex 4G) and send it to MyCSP pensioner payroll if the person:
- is permanently promoted or demoted;
- is temporarily promoted to a grade (or job weighting) greater than the post held immediately before original retirement;
- increases or decreases their conditioned hours;
- benefits from a retrospective pay award that alters either their salary of reference or their salary at the beginning of re-employment; or
- is fee-paid and there is a change in the rate of fee being paid (other than a general increase).
You will need to look at your procedures to ensure that you complete a CSP13 on every change of circumstances. We suggest you include a prompt for HR staff on their Staff Advice Notices/Change of Circumstances forms. You should send a copy of the form to MyCSP.
5.12.1 The Civil Service Management Code (CSMC) gives guidance on Sick Pay at Pension rate. It is your decision whether to pay SPPR. MyCSP cannot tell you when to do this. MyCSP will calculate the member’s pension if you decide to apply Sick Pay at Pension Rate.