Identifying eligibility to join the Civil Service Pension arrangements

As a general rule, the majority of your employees will be eligible to join the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements...

Who is eligible for a pension?

The CSP arrangements are open to all employees of the Civil Service and organisations listed in Schedule 1 of...

Definition of ‘employee’

By ‘employee’, we mean a person engaged on a contract of service...

'New entrants' and 'rejoiners'

Outlining the definition of the terms along with who is and isn't entitled to these labels...

Members eligibility for alpha

After 1 April 2015 most new entrants and rejoiners will be entered into alpha when they start.

This section outlines the circumstances when this might not be applicable.

No more than 28 days’ break between CSP employments

Rejoiners who have not taken their pension or received compensation and who have had a break in CSP employment of 28 days or less will usually return to the scheme...

More than 28 days and under 6 months’ break between CSP employments

Most rejoiners who return after a break of 28 days or more but less than 6 months will be eligible to join either alpha or partnership.

This might not be the possible in every case, examples are given in this section.

Breaks between CSP employments of more than 6 months but less than 5 years

Most rejoiners who return after a break of 6 months but within 5 years will be eligible to join either alpha or partnership.

This might not be the possible in every case, examples are given in this section.

Breaks between CSP employments of 5 years or more

This group of rejoiners will usually have the option to join either alpha or partnership. In effect, you treat them as if they were new entrants.

This section outlines any any exceptions to this.

Table 1 - Exceptions to new entrants and rejoiners

A short table outlining who might be ineligible to join or rejoin

Helping you decide pension choices for new entrants and rejoiners

The Pension Questionnaire and the Joiner Tool is an essential tool to help you deliver the correct choice of pension(s) to staff and, because of this, the Scheme Manager, Cabinet Office is mandating its use by all employers who participate in the CSP arrangements.

Actions once eligibility has been established

As an employer, you have responsibilities to your employee when they're joining the CPS.

Partnership rejoiners, rejoining within 28 days

This section outlines what you're required to do for someone rejoining the Partnership scheme.

Letter of appointment (LOA) text

Information about how to insert the appropriate text into your standard LOA to tell the appointee about their pension choices.

Starter Packs

It is a statutory requirement that new starters and rejoiners receive scheme information within 2 months of their start date.

This section outlines the differences between the different packs.

Ordering Starter Packs

The process of ordering, where to go and the options available to you are outlined here.

Pension Choices forms

The new entrants and rejoiners must complete and return the Pension Choices forms to you to ensure the correct deductions are made from your payroll.

Outlined here is which form is required and the actions to take.

Receiving Pension Choices forms after the three month decision period

Where staff return their Pension Choices form after the three month decision period, you will need to take the outlined actions depending on which scheme they're enrolled in.

At-a-glance Employer Actions tables

Annex 4C gives a series of tables which show, at a glance, the actions you need to take throughout the recruitment process.

New entrants deciding to opt out

If a new entrant who has been enrolled in the CSP arrangements confirms that they wish to opt out within 3 months of being enrolled this section outlines the action to take depending on their circumstances.


Abatement may apply to a rejoiner under specific circumstances.

Rejoiners who have an upper-tier ill health pension

Quarantine periods

Examples of someone left with enhanced benefits in specific circumstances are outlined in this section.

Rejoiners who have had a break in service of 28 days or less

Outlining the scenario where people are re-employed within 28 days having left under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) arrangements.

Compensation payments

Examples of the where the compensation payment may need to be fully or partially repaid.

Joining past service with new service

A rejoiner who has a preserved classic, classic plus or premium pension in the CSP arrangements will, in certain circumstances, be able to join this up with their new service.

Pensioners re-employed immediately upon retirement

Outlining the options a member has upon subsequently being re-employed after a break of 28 days, they will generally have the choice of scheme available to them.

Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history

It is your responsibility to find out if any of your new employees have accrued pension rights in another public service pension scheme.

The process of how to find out is outlined in this section.

Scheme Eligibility - The presence test

Gathering a member’s public service pension scheme history (including their previous membership of the PCSPS) is used to determine their eligibility for alpha or to join one of the PCSPS schemes.

22 December 2021
Last updated:
22 June 2022