5.1.1 The ‘Members’ section contains comprehensive information for scheme members, including contact details for the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP).
Section 5 - Your responsibilities when staff are in service
5.1 Your responsibilities when staff are in service
Your responsibilities when staff are in service
Information for members
5.1.2 The Scheme Administrator is responsible for handling most enquiries from members. You must direct a member to the Civil Service Pensions website if they have a question about the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements. They can also ask the Scheme Administrator directly if they have a question about:
- Annual Benefit Statements – a member may question the information shown on their statement. The Scheme Administrator 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 (see note 1);
- making AVCs (see note 1);
- making a change to a death benefit nomination – members can nominate who should be paid death benefit. The forms are available here;
- CSP valuations or enquiries for divorce purposes – pension benefits can be taken into account when a member negotiates their divorce settlement. The Scheme Administrator must give the member or their representatives certain information to do this;
- dependants’ benefits;
- opting out, rejoining and automatic re-enrolment into the CSP scheme (see ‘Changing pension arrangements’ section 5.9);
- switching schemes (see note 1);
- applying to transfer their pension benefits in another scheme into the CSP 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 the Scheme Administrator 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 the Scheme Administrator to give them a copy of the leaflet they need. Employers are generally responsible for giving only new members information (see section 4 ‘Your responsibilities when staff join’). You should speak to your Scheme Administrator Employer Relationship Manager if you require further information.
5.1.4 From time to time we will ask you to give members information and guidance about the scheme or changes to the scheme. 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. Failure to give members timely information could lead to compensation claims against you if members miss a valuable opportunity.
5.1.5 The Scheme Administrator will provide members with an ABS. This will tell the member about the pension benefits they have earned in the CSP arrangements so far and other important information about their pension and scheme membership.
The Scheme Administrator issue annual statements to members’ home addresses (excluding those for secure members or employers who have agreed alternative arrangements). You must ensure that you provide the Scheme Administrator with up-to-date information about members’ home addresses prior to the start of statement distribution. You will be notified of the dates in an Employer Pension Notice (EPN).
5.2 Member Records
5.2.1 You must agree with the Scheme Administrator the arrangements for telling them about changes in a member’s circumstances. You must pass on to the Scheme Administrator any information that may affect a member’s pension. This includes:
- change of address;
- 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 the Scheme Administrator 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 the Scheme Administrator accurate and up to date data. The Scheme Administrator cannot give members correct pension information if the records they hold are incomplete, incorrect or out of date. The arrangements you agree with the Scheme Administrator must give them member details that are robust enough to minimise the chance of an error. Section 8 ‘Compendia, payroll and data responsibilities’ gives more details about your responsibility for data accuracy. The employer page of the website ‘Your Monthly Interface’ provides support on how the data is transferred to the Scheme Administrator.
5.2.3 Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), all organisations have to have a data retention policy which must be communicated to individuals at the point personal data is collected from them.
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:
- reduce/clear a debt of a period of reckonable service for which they paid no contributions; or
- 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.
The current level of employee contribution rates can be found here.
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 ‘Paying for Civil Service pensions’ gives more information on the payment of ASLCs.
Contributions to an outside pension provider
5.3.5 The partnership pension account is an occupational pension scheme under a Master Trust. It is therefore vital that you follow the correct procedures. Occupational pension schemes under a Master Trust are regulated by The Pensions Regulator. This means that the pension provider has strict guidelines to adhere to, including the recording and timing of contributions. This also applies to AVCs.
If you or your payroll provider does not send the contributions within the statutory timescale of the 22nd day (19th day if paid by cheque) following the month in which they were deducted from the policyholder’s salary, the pension providers are obliged to tell The Pensions 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 Pensions 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 CSP 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 died;
- the member has switched between pension schemes.
The Pensions 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 ‘Paying for Civil Service pensions’ and 4.2 ‘Your responsibilities when staff join partnership’.
Overpayments of partnership and AVCs contributions
5.3.6 If you make a partnership or AVC overpayment to the 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.
Incorrect payments of contributions
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 Cabinet Office 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 CSP arrangements. See section 5.5 ‘Secondment’ for more information;
- on sick leave on reduced pay, e.g. receiving sick pay at half rate or receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – it does not apply for members receiving Sick Pay at Pension rate (SPPR) (even if they are also in receipt of SSP) or members receiving no 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 Scheme Manager, Cabinet Office 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 Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote or the members partnership pension provider. You do this on the basis of assuming that the member was paid normally during these special circumstances. The employee makes contributions based on the pay received or normally received during the period their special circumstances apply depending on which circumstance applies at the time. Members of partnership can make increased contributions on their return to normal working to make up any shortfall.
Annex 10B (‘General description of which elements of remuneration are pensionable’) provides further detail of the assumed pay scenarios and what earnings employee and employer contributions are based on during these times.
Annex 5C shows what contributions are due and what reckons during sick leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave and parental leave.
Change in employee contribution
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 2 months’ notice using the ‘Contribution change request form for the partnership pension account & Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS)’ form available in the Members section of the website. 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.
Changing partnership pension providers
Retrospective pay awards
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.
Employee contribution rates are based on their annualised pensionable earnings banding for that pay period. A member’s annualised pensionable earnings include all elements of their pay that are pensionable (for example, their basic pay and all pensionable allowances and bonuses).
If a member receives a late pay award or arrears payment, the employee contribution rate is based on the actual amount of annualised pensionable earnings paid in the relevant pay period. This applies:
- even if the arrears causes the employee’s annualised pensionable earnings band to shift for just that pay period, and
- if the arrears payment relates to a previous scheme year.
The member percentage contribution rates can be found here. Details of the employer contribution rates, including 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 Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote in the normal way (see ‘Paying for Civil Service pensions’ (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, 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.
This also applies to the alpha scheme. Retrospective changes to pay / earnings should be issued to the Scheme Administrator on the dates the payment is due, and not the date when the amount was paid.
Change in added years contributions
5.3.12 From March 2008, members were no longer able to take out new added years contracts. However, members with existing contracts could continue these contracts after this date.
The contribution rates for added years contracts were calculated by the Scheme Administrator at the time the contract was taken out. The percentage rate remains constant until the contract end date (unless there is a change in the number of conditioned hours that the member works). The percentage contribution rises if a member reduces their conditioned hours, and reduces when a member increases their conditioned hours. Part-time members have to pay an increased percentage contribution relative to the level of someone who is full-time. This is because they are buying added years of full-time service.
Where a member has an existing added years contract, you should notify the Scheme Administrator if there is a change to the member’s conditioned hours of service as soon as the change is agreed. This is to ensure that the added years deductions are recalculated as soon as possible.
The Scheme Administrator will then inform you of the revised percentage rate. You must then notify your payroll/payroll provider, and the member, of the revised amount of pay and rate of contributions for added years.
5.4 Increasing pension contributions
Buying added pension
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 Publications page of the website.
An annual reminder in the form of an Employer Pension Notice (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 Members who go onto assumed pay (as detailed in 5.3.8) will have the choice to suspend their added pension contributions or reduce the amount of contributions to a rate determined by reference to their actual pay during that period. 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 so, this takes effect for the date they send their request.
If a member stops added pension contributions during the period of assumed pay, they may resume contributions in the next pay period after the period of assumed pay ends.
If a member moves from a period of assumed pay 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 the Scheme Administrator 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 in their previous scheme until they either:
- choose to cancel,
- or they reach the agreed end date of their option (e.g. they reach age 60 and their added years contributions must stop).
If they choose to cancel their added pension or added years contributions in their PCSPS scheme, they cannot be restarted. The member will keep the additional 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.
Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
5.4.3 From 1 September 2018 members of classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos and alpha are able to make AVCs through a new arrangement with Legal & General.
5.4.4 General details and application forms are available here:
The Legal & General Micro-site provides further details:
5.4.5 If you receive a request from a staff member to join the AVC scheme and you do not currently participate in the AVC section then you will need to submit a request to participate immediately.
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 (whose scheme is now closed to new members) send the benefit statements to members’ home addresses. Equitable Life (whose scheme is also closed to new members) sends the benefit statements to the Scheme Administrator to mail to members.
Legal & General members are able to view their benefit statement on the ‘Manage Your Account’ section of the Legal and General website. They will be sent an email advising them when the statement is ready. Members may request a statement be sent to them by post by contacting Legal & General.
Effective Pension Age (EPA)
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 Normal Pension Age (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. This means that 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 retire (either fully or partially).
Each EPA portion can be paid without any reduction, a set amount of time before the member’s NPA (e.g. 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.
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 details 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 will inform you when a member has chosen to buy (or restart a previous) EPA. They 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 sufficient 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 Administrator 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. If a member chooses to suspend their EPA contributions, this takes effect from 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.
As with added pension applications, an annual reminder in the form of an EPN, with an application form, is issued in time for new monthly contributions from 1 April.
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 ‘Outward secondment arrangements for members’ of the CSP 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 the Scheme Manager (Cabinet Office), for permission before the loan begins.
Secondment and injury benefits
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 CSP 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
Member remains an active member of Civil Service Pensions during secondment?
Applicable to part-time secondments?
ASLC (Employer Contribution)
You pay Civil Service salary and employer's NI contributions
You must pay the ASLC and recover the amount from the borrowing employer (NOTE E) (NOTE G)
Borrowing employer reimburses:
Secondee pays member's contributions
Borrowing employer pays salary and employer's NI contributions
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
No ASLC is due.
No member’s contributions are due to the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote.
Unpaid special leave
No (NOTE D) (NOTE J)
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;
These contributions are based on assumed pay:
- the notional civil service salary for classic members; and
- the ‘assumed’ civil service salary for premium members.
C The individual can choose to either retain accrued pension benefits in the CSP arrangements (see D below) or transfer their benefits to the borrowing employer’s scheme. The Scheme Administrator can give you information about how a transfer is made.
D Accrued pension benefits are retained in the CSP arrangements. The period of secondment does not reckon towards CSP arrangement benefits. But a transfer value of the benefits the member accrued in the borrowing employer’s scheme can be made into the CSP arrangements. Those who are on unpaid (or paid) special leave are not covered by the Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme.
E You must send the ASLC paid by the borrowing employer and the employee’s pension contributions to the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote. You must also send partnership and AVCs to the relevant pension provider. The Scheme Administrator will keep the secondee’s pension record. You must tell the Scheme Administrator that the member is a secondee.
F If the borrowing employer’s scheme is by-analogy to the CSP arrangements, the secondee may not be able to join the by-analogy scheme. This is because, like the CSP 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 Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote. In exceptional circumstances the Scheme Manager (Cabinet Office), 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. The Scheme Administrator 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 CSP arrangements. To make up the pension that they were unable to buy, the member could increase their contributions.
5.5.6 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 CSP arrangements. This will have been decided when agreeing the secondment terms. You should ask the Scheme Administrator 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 Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme coverage during the secondment.
5.6 Transfers or loans within the Civil Service and concurrent employment
Transfers or loans within the Civil Service
5.6.1 Staff that are transferred or loaned between employers covered by the CSP arrangements remain in the scheme that they were a member of prior to the transfer or loan. This is unless they decide to switch, opt in or opt out. However, due to automatic enrolment legislation, for those who are transferred (but not loaned) who have already opted out, 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. For more information about automatic enrolment, see ‘Automatic enrolment’ (section 4.4). The sending employer must in all cases complete form OGDTF1 at annex 6B.
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.
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 CSP 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 CSP 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 Transfer to the EU and coordinated organisations
Transfers to the EU and coordinated organisations
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 (the Scheme Administrator 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 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 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 the Scheme Administrator 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 they are a former member and they return 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 or a pension credit in the CSP arrangements, depending on which scheme the member is eligible to join, 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 The Scheme Administrator 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 Salary sacrifice
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 the Scheme Administrator about the member’s salary sacrifice. When working out the employee’s pensionable earnings, the Scheme Administrator will ignore the salary sacrifice. The Scheme Administrator 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 Changing pension arrangements
5.9.3 Members have the right to opt out of the CSP arrangements. The member must complete the latest version of the Opt Out form.
If a member has any questions about opting out, they should contact the Scheme Administrator for further information.
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 the Scheme Administrator for a copy of the form or any further information.
5.9.4 The employer is responsible for taking appropriate and timely action to process requests from members to opt out of the CSP arrangements, before copying information to the Scheme Administrator to update their records and take any required pension action..
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 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 (as explained in Annex 5D);
- the Scheme Administrator will check copies of Opt Out forms received to ensure they have been correctly completed by the member and employer. Any forms that do not have a received date or completed employer section to show that they have been processed by the employer first, will be returned. The Scheme Administrator will process fully completed Opt Out forms received and take any 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 notification 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 inserts a date received in the appropriate box of any Opt Out forms they receive on the day they receive them.
Please note: The date that the member is opted out of the scheme is the day after the last day on which contributions are taken. The date the member is opted out of the scheme can either be, at the earliest, the date the form is received (as stated in the appropriate box on the form), or the next available payroll date. Members cannot be opted out of the scheme retrospectively. Therefore, the last day on which contributions are taken cannot be more than 1 day before the exact date the opt out form was received (as stated in the appropriate box).
If the form is not completed correctly, the Scheme Administrator will return the form for correction.
Note B: The three month opting out period for new starters who wish to opt out of the PCSPS or alpha and receive a full refund of their contributions, will continue to apply under the scheme rules, irrespective of automatic enrolment legislation. However, since the introduction of automatic enrolment, there are two groups who must opt out within 1 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 (depending on whether the previous preserved pension was in the PCSPS or alpha and which scheme they are opting out of – the Scheme Administrator can provide further advice on this).
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 the date received recorded in the appropriate box) by the employer within one month of the start of the opting out period.
5.9.6 The process for refunding members contributions and assessing further actions needed was revised following the introduction of automatic enrolment. The current process is detailed in Annex 5D.
Please note: the employer should only give a refund if they have automatically enrolled the employee who is opting out and received the opting out form within 1 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 as advised in Annex 5D.
5.9.8 Employees choosing to opt out no longer accrue pension benefits in the CSP arrangements but they may remain entitled to compensation payments and injury benefits. The Scheme Administrator can tell you more about the treatment of optants out.
Changing pension arrangements
5.9.1 Members can switch between partnership, classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos or alpha in either direction but can only switch once within a 12 month period.
You must ask the member to complete a Pension Switch Form and return it to you. A copy of the Pension Switch form can be found using this link:
A member opting for partnership within the first month of service and having that choice backdated to day one does not count as a switch. A member opting for partnership after one month but within three months of starting service is treated as a request to switch schemes. The member, however, is not required to complete the switch form in these circumstances.
5.9.2 On receipt of the switch (or Pensions Choices) form you must:
- process the request on your records, checking that the member meets the criteria to allow them to switch;
- follow the partnership application process given in section 4.2 (‘Your responsibilities when staff join partnership’);
- complete the employer section of the form and forward a copy to the Scheme Administrator to notify them of the instruction. If the switch is as a result of a member choosing partnership after one month but within three months of joining service, send a copy of the Pension Choices form to the Scheme Administrator and notify them of the switch date;
- the Scheme Administrator will process the request if they are satisfied that the member meets the criteria to allow them to switch.
The timetable for switching is shown below:
Employer receives switch request form between
1 January and 31 January
1 February and 28 February
1 March and 31 March
1 April and 30 April
1 May and 31 May
1 June and 30 June
1 July and 31 July
1 August and 31 August
1 September and 30 September
1 October and 31 October
1 November and 30 November
1 December and 31 December
You must ensure that your payroll provider is notified in sufficient time to ensure that the correct contributions are taken from the relevant switching date.
Members choosing to switch back into classic, classic plus, premium or nuvos may be eligible to be moved into alpha, you must ensure you check these members against the eligibility criteria (see ‘Your responsibilities when staff join’ (section 4.1)).
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. The member must complete the latest version of the Opt In form. The option will take place from the next available pay period.
5.9.10 Following the introduction of alpha from 1 April 2015, when a member chooses to opt back into the CSP 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 (see ‘Your responsibilities when staff join’ (section 4.1)).
The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP arrangements to enrol optants out into.
Please note: Under the automatic enrolment legislation, an employee is allowed to opt back into the CSP arrangements once in any 12 month period.
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 CSP arrangements must normally be re-enrolled in the section of the scheme that they opted out of. However, following the introduction of alpha from 1 April 2015, when a member is re-enrolled back into the CSP 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 (see ‘Your responsibilities when staff join’ (section 4.1)).
The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP 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’.
5.9.12 If an employee opts out of the CSP arrangements 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 these criteria are met, as stated below:
- if an employee opts out of the CSP arrangements (and does not join partnership) below age 22, their employer must automatically enrol them into the CSP arrangements 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 ‘Automatic enrolment’ (section 4.4) 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). They are those members 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 CSP arrangements;
- members of the partnership pension scheme;
- members with an ongoing Ill Health Retirement (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 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 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 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 Injury benefits
5.10.1 The Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme (CSIBS) applies to most individuals employed in the Civil Service not just members of the CSP arrangements. The CSIBS pays benefits to members who have sustained a qualifying injury as defined in the CSIBS rules and, as a result of the injury, their earnings capacity has been impaired. It is paid to bring their income up to a guaranteed level.
A qualifying injury includes the following:
- injury or death in the course of official duty. This means an injury that is solely attributable to the nature of the employee’s duty or arising from an activity reasonably incidental to it (for injuries sustained on or before 31 March 2003); or wholly or mainly attributable to the nature of the employee’s duty if they sustain an injury on or after 1 April 2003;
- incapacity or death from an attack while off duty but directly attributable to being employed by the government;
- incapacity or death from a disease to which the employee was exposed solely, wholly or mainly by the nature of their duty;
- incapacity or death from a medical condition which is aggravated by service abroad;
- injury or death as a result of a disturbance abroad in an area where the employee was serving (provided they were recruited in the United Kingdom);
- injury or death as the result of a terrorist attack or assault which is not in the course of official duty but is directly attributable to the employee being employed in the Civil Service.
An employee will not qualify for injury benefit if their death or injury is unrelated to their employment or happens while they are:
- travelling to and from work;
- during a main meal break;
- working at home, (unless the work is authorised by the employer and is solely, wholly or mainly attributable to the nature of the employee’s official duty);
- on special leave (whether paid or unpaid);
- deviating from the most direct route on a duty journey or during any breaks in a duty journey;
- at work but not carrying out their duties; for example, sport, any form of entertainment, leisure activities, or giving blood.
An employee will also be excluded from injury benefits if their injury or death is a result of their own negligence or misconduct.
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 the Scheme Administrator decides if a member has suffered an injury that may qualify them for an injury benefit. The Scheme Administrator may take the advice of the Scheme Medical Advisor but the Scheme Administrator always makes the decision as to whether 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;
- they are downgraded or work in a different capacity with impaired earnings because of their injury;
- the individual leaves your employment.
You must tell the Scheme Administrator 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 the Scheme Administrator if the individual asks you for damages and keep them informed of progress.
Please note: To apply for Injury Benefit you and the employee must complete form CSIBS1 and send it to the Scheme Administrator together with all supporting documentation. The CSIBS1 form can be found here. The supporting documentation required is stated at the bottom of the form and includes:
- relevant accident reports and/or accident book entries;
- a personal statement from the employee describing the reasons for the injury;
- a statement from you accepting or disputing the employee’s statement. This should explain the reasons for disputing any element of the personal statement and also details of any disciplinary/grievance procedure (and outcome);
- any witness statements (obtained by either you or the employee);
- the employee’s job description;
- any sickness absence details. Clearly identify the date the absence relevant to the injury started;
- copies of any Scheme Medical Adviser correspondence relating to the case (or any earlier referral if relevant to the current case);
- a medical in confidence envelope and any additional original medical evidence relating to injury.
If you unsure about any of the information to be provided or have any questions relating to the injury benefits process, please contact the Scheme Administrator to discuss.
Injury off duty
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 sustain an injury by accident which results in:
- total and permanent loss of sight in one or both eyes; or
- total and permanent loss of use of one or both hands or feet; or
- total and permanent disablement from engaging in paid employment/occupations of any kind; or
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.
Payment into the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote
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 Re-employed Pensioners
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 ‘Your responsibilities when re-employing pensioners and form CSP13’ (section 4.3)) and send it to the Scheme Administrator if the person:
- is promoted or demoted (either permanently or temporarily); or
- increases or decreases their conditioned hours; or
- starts (or stops) receiving a permanent pensionable allowance;
- has a change in pay as a result of being on (or returning from) long term sick leave.
Note: If the member’s pay has substantially increased or decreased for any other reason than shown above you must complete a new CSP13 and send it to the Scheme Administrator.
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.
5.12 Sick Pay at Pension Rate (SPPR)
Sick Pay at Pension Rate (SPPR)
5.12.1 The Civil Service Management Code (CSMC) gives guidance on SPPR. It is your decision whether to pay SPPR. The Scheme Administrator cannot tell you when to do this. The Scheme Administrator will calculate the member’s pension if you decide to apply SPPR.
5.13 Certification of qualifying earnings
Certification of qualifying earnings
5.13.1 You need to produce certification that partnership and Concord meets the relevant quality standard published by the Pension Regulator for pension schemes used for automatic enrolment. If you do not have any members in partnership or Concord you do not need to produce a certificate. However, when you get your first member you should undertake a certification exercise. Note that a certificate expires after 18 months.
5.13.2 Detailed guidance about certification and the process you will need to follow is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automatic-enrolment-guidance-on-certifying-money-purchase-pension-schemes
5.13.3 A template certificate is available at the link above. Some details which may be useful for completing the certificate are provided below:
a. The partnership Pension Scheme Registry Number (PSR is): 12005868
b. You are certifying a section/part of a scheme, the details of this is that you participate in a Master Trust arrangement, and you are only certifying that the quality standards of automatic enrolment are met for your organisations members of partnership.
c. The certificate relates to an occupational money purchase scheme
d. You are free to choose whichever alternative quality test to use.
5.13.4 If you conclude that partnership does not meet the quality requirements for your partnership members, you should contact the scheme with details of your assessment. If you conclude that partnership does meet the quality requirements for your partnership members you should produce and retain the certificate. You only need to provide confirmation of holding a certificate in the Annual Assurance Statement, you do not need to send the certificate to the scheme or separately inform the scheme that you have passed the test.
5.13.5 Alternatively you can decide to carry out an entitlement check instead of certification, as described in this document - https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/-/media/thepensionsregulator/files/import/pdf/dg-4-appendix-f.ashx