Step 1

Check the Pension Choices form. This will show you that the new starter has chosen partnership. It is important to check that the applicant has signed and dated the form and that they have entered the correct employer details.

If the new starter has chosen partnership; have they sent you a ‘Partnership pension account application form’?

If YES, please go to step 2.

If NO, please contact the new starter and ask them to:

  • complete the ‘Partnership pension account application form’,
  • send the application form to you as soon as possible.

Please note: you may wish to remind the new starter that if they make their pension choice within one month of being enrolled or being told they have been enrolled (if later) you will backdate their choice to their first day of service.

You should not take any further action until the new starter has sent the application form to you.

Step 2

Check the application form to ensure that:

  • the new starter has entered all of their personal details on the application form, and signed and dated the form, and
  • (although the employee is not required to contribute anything) if they have chosen to contribute, they have shown their contribution as a percentage to one decimal place.

If any information is wrong, you will need to return the form to the new starter for amending, reminding them of the one-month choice period. If the one-month choice period lapses whilst you are sorting out enquiries, you should consider the circumstances as to whether or not you ‘unscramble’ contributions made to alphanuvos or premium on joining service (see ‘Unscrambling’, paragraphs 4.2.17 to 4.2.18). It is reasonable to do so if the new starter originally returned their form within the initial one month. However, you may decide against unscrambling if the new starter has caused unreasonable delays.

Step 3

Where the member returns their form within one month, instruct your payroll to begin making deductions from the new starter or rejoiner’s salary (if the member has chosen to contribute) and to unscramble alphanuvos or premium contributions if necessary (see ‘Unscrambling’, paragraphs 4.2.17 to 4.2.18).

Where the member returns their form after one month, their choice must be treated as a request to switch schemes. The member is therefore not enrolled into the partnership pension account until the first pay period two months after the date the option is made. However, you must ensure that your payroll provider is notified in sufficient time to ensure that the correct contributions (if the member has chosen to contribute) are taken from the relevant switching date. See section 5 ‘Changing pension arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process.

Proceed to step 4.

Step 4

Your payroll must then follow the Legal & General ‘Manage Submissions Interface Guide’ issued in EPN533 to correctly notify the provider of the new joiner and the contributions (both employee and employer) that will be made.

The employer contributions are in two parts, age related and matching:

  • You pay an age-related contribution for all partnership members whether or not the member contributes. The level of contribution depends on the employee’s age at the beginning of the current tax year (on 6 April last). The employer contribution page sets out the percentage contribution. You must review the age contributions each year. You will need to revise the contributions when a member moves into a different age band.

  • The employer matching contribution depends on whether, and how much, the member chooses to pay to partnership as a regular contribution. The employee will have confirmed whether they wish to contribute and, if so, the percentage level they wish to make on the application form. If the new starter has chosen to make an employee contribution, you will match this up to a maximum of 3% of the employee’s pensionable earnings. You will pay no more than 3% regardless of whether the new starter pays more than that. You can make a higher contribution in exceptional circumstances provided that these are justified on a case by case basis as necessary for recruitment and retention purposes. You must report all cases to the Scheme Manager, Cabinet Office, via You will need to ensure that your payroll provider and the pension provider are fully aware that non-standard contributions are to be paid.

Annex 4E provides examples and further information on how to calculate partnership contributions.

In addition to paying the age-related and matching contributions, you must also pay a mini ASLC of 0.5% of pensionable earnings to the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote to cover the cost of benefits due as a result of death in service or ill health retirement. Section 3.5 (‘Paying for Civil Service pensions’) tells you more about this. It also gives you the deadlines you must meet for paying the contributions.

Step 5

Send the Pension Choices form to the Scheme Administrator. Do not send it to the provider. The Scheme Administrator will use this to confirm that the member’s pension record has been correctly updated through the interface and note the death benefit nomination.

If the member returned their form after one month and the choice is treated as a switch, the Scheme Administrator will assess the member’s record and advise whether a refund of contributions can be made through your payroll/payroll provider (as per the opting out process detailed in 4.1.52).

23 December 2021
Last updated:
27 January 2022