Member contributions

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 premiumclassic plusnuvos and alpha members pay a percentage of pensionable earnings towards scheme benefits.

See the current level of employee contribution rates.

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 for details.

Employer contributions

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). Find out 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 Section 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.

Assumed pay

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 in Section 10 of this guide 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.

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).

Prior to 01 September 2020, backdated pay was added to regular monthly salary to determine which contribution band a member fell within. The contribution rates applied were determined each month, based on a pro-rata of the annual threshold.

For payments made after 01 September 2020, backdated pay should not be included when determining contribution tiers. This will be achieved by basing the pensionable earnings, used to determine the contribution tier only, on actual basic pay and any pensionable allowances. For avoidance of doubt, part-time workers continue to have their salary threshold worked out using their actual pay, and not their full-time equivalent salary. Note, backdated pay includes (but is not limited to) pay awards, allowances, etc.

This contribution rate should be applied against all pensionable earnings paid in the period. For example, both salary, and any backdated pay.

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 section 3.5 - Paying for Civil Service pensions.

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.

You should provide confirmation of a change to a member’s conditioned hours to the Scheme Administrator, by emailing (MyCSP).

4 January 2022
Last updated:
15 April 2024