Your responsibilities when staff join

4.1 Your responsibilities when staff join

Identifying eligibility to join the Civil Service Pension arrangements

4.1.1 As a general rule, the majority of your employees will be eligible to join the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements. This section tells you about:

  • who is and isn’t eligible to join,
  • the choices available to employees, according to their employment status, and
  • the actions you need to take and your duty of care when staff join your organisation.

4.1.2 This section does not cover compulsory transfers of staff as there are different eligibility rules concerning pension provision. If you are thinking of undertaking a compulsory transfer exercise, you must get in touch with your Employer Relationship Manager in the first instance. For further information on transfers please see section 12.

Who is eligible for a pension?

4.1.3 The CSP arrangements are open to all employees of the Civil Service and organisations listed in Schedule 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972, with the following exceptions:

  • people engaged locally overseas;
  • inward secondees from a non-CSP employer;
  • people who belong to another registered pension scheme to which you (as the employer) contribute;
  • people whose terms of employment exclude them from membership of the scheme.

Please note: for Civil Service employers, all appointments need not comply with the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles. See http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/civil-service-recruitment/

Definition of ‘employee’

4.1.4 By ‘employee’, we mean a person engaged on a contract of service. You should obtain your own legal advice to determine whether or not an individual is an ‘employee’.

4.1.5 Where someone is not an ‘employee’, for the avoidance of doubt you should specify in their contract that they are not covered by the pension arrangements.

4.1.6 You should note that just because someone is treated as an employee for tax and national insurance purposes, it does not necessarily mean that they are employed on a contract of service and therefore entitled to a Civil Service pension.

'New entrants' and 'rejoiners'

4.1.7 We use the term ‘new entrant’ to define someone who is starting work for a CSP employer for the first time and, depending on their ‘employee status’, is eligible for a Civil Service pension. Whether the employee works full or part-time is immaterial.

4.1.8 We use the term ‘rejoiner’ to define someone who has been a member of the CSP arrangements before. This includes individuals:

  • joining your organisation (either with or without a preserved pension for earlier service), or
  • joining your organisation and who are receiving a Civil Service pension or have received some form of compensation from their previous CSP employer.

4.1.9 There is no minimum or maximum age for members joining the CSP arrangements. However, members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) cannot accrue any further benefits in the scheme after their 75th birthday (see section 7 ‘Member reaching age 75 (classic, classic plus, premium or nuvos)’ for further information). This does not apply to members of alpha.

4.1.10 From 1 April 2015 new entrants with no recent public sector pension history have a choice of joining alpha or opening a partnership pension account (see Section 3 for details on the schemes available).

Members joining from a recent period of public sector employment may not be eligible for alpha; instead they may join nuvos or premium subject to their age (their years to their NPA) and their pension history.

4.1.11 Rejoiners may have different choices. These will depend on:

  • the length of break since they were last employed by a CSP employer,
  • the reason they left, and
  • whether or not they are receiving their pension.

4.1.12 The general position is as follows. There are exceptions to new entrants and rejoiners but we will tell you about these later (see table 1 ‘Exceptions to new entrants and rejoiners’ and ‘Other things you need to know – Rejoiner matters’ (paragraph 4.1.53 onwards)).

Members eligibility for alpha

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

However, some members will be eligible to join (or rejoin) the PCSPS, so a series of checks must be completed.

See ‘Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for more information.

There is also more information available about eligibility and enrolling members into alpha in Annex A.

Please note: You must use the Pension Questionnaire and the Joiner Tool. Both of these are essential tools to help you deliver the correct choice of pension(s) to staff and, because of this, the Scheme Manager, Cabinet Office is making it mandatory for all employers who participate in the CSP arrangements to use them. See ‘Helping you decide pension choices for new entrants and rejoiners’ (paragraphs 4.1.18 to 4.1.24) for further information.

No more than 28 days’ break between CSP employments

4.1.13 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 they were in with their previous CSP employer. However, if the rejoiner was previously a member of the PCSPS the member will be enrolled into alpha if:

  • they qualify for tapered enrolment; and
  • in the break between their CSP employments their tapered enrolment date has passed.

Please see ‘Scheme Eligibility – Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for further information regarding tapered enrolment.

Members who have received compensation on leaving will have their compensation cancelled on rejoining and their service will be classed as continuous. The member must pay back the full amount of compensation. See ‘Other things you need to know – Rejoiner matters’ (paragraph 4.1.53 onwards) for further information.

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

4.1.14 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.

If, however, a rejoiner had previously qualified for full protection or tapered enrolment in the PCSPS (and has not yet passed their tapered enrolment date) and returns after a break of 28 days or more but less than 6 months, they will usually be eligible to join either nuvos or partnership (see ‘Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for further information regarding full protection/tapered enrolment).

However, those who resigned from their previous CSP employment or came to an end of a fixed term appointment, having qualified for a classic, classic plus or premium pension, and who are not yet receiving their pension, will have a choice of premium or partnership. They will not be able to join nuvos.

If a member becomes eligible for alpha (i.e. their tapered enrolment date has passed), they will be moved into that scheme.

4.1.15 Members rejoining during this period who left with a compensation payment will have to repay the lesser of (a) 6 months' worth of compensation, and (b) the notional period of their compensation (see ‘Compensation payments’ (paragraphs 4.1.61 to 4.1.64) for further information). If their pension is in payment, abatement may apply (see ‘Abatement’ (paragraph 4.1.53)).

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

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

If, however, a rejoiner had previously qualified for full protection or tapered enrolment in the PCSPS (and has not yet passed their tapered enrolment date) and returns after a break of 6 months or more but less than 5 years, they will usually be eligible to join either nuvos or partnership (see ‘Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for further information regarding full protection/tapered enrolment).

However, those who resigned from their previous CSP employment or whose fixed term appointment came to an end, having qualified for a classic, classic plus or premium pension, and who are not yet receiving their pension, will have a choice of premium or partnership. They will not be able to join nuvos.

If a member becomes eligible for alpha (i.e. their tapered enrolment date has passed), they will be moved into that scheme.

Breaks between CSP employments of 5 years or more

4.1.17 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. However, if a rejoiner has service in a previous public service pension scheme, this can affect the choices available to them (see ‘Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for further information).

Annex 4A gives a summary of the choice(s) of scheme(s) available for rejoiners. As the choices for rejoiners are not straightforward, we have developed the ‘Pensions Questionnaire' and 'Joiner Calculator’ to help you identify the correct choices. We tell you more about this in paragraph 4.1.18 onwards.

Using the Pension Questionnaire and Joiner Tool will help you to identify the scheme your new member of staff is eligible for.

This will involve you collecting information from your new employee about their public service pension scheme history, as this can affect their scheme eligibility.

4.1.18 The following table lists the groups of employees who are not regarded as being either new entrants or rejoiners for pension purposes.

Table 1 - Exceptions to new entrants and rejoiners

Staff on short term contracts who are given further contracts of work (and have not had a break in employment)

As there has not been a break in employment, these staff are not regarded as either new entrants or rejoiners for pension purposes. For guidance, please see Annex 4D.

Members moving from one CSP employer to another without a break in service

An individual is not regarded as a new entrant or rejoiner if they move from one CSP employer to another CSP employer. These members will have already established their pension choice. They are not generally permitted to change their option purely as a result of moving from one CSP employer to another.

However, if the transferring employee is opted out of the Civil Service pension scheme and does not have an active partnership account, due   to automatic enrolment legislation, the new employer must enrol the employee into the Civil Service pension scheme (see ‘Employees transferred in from another CSP employer’ (paragraphs 4.4.13 to 4.4.14)).

The exporting employer must tell you about the member’s pension details when they transfer the personnel details to you. It is your responsibility to ensure you have received this information. Annex 4B text C gives you a form of words to use in the letter of appointment. See Section 6 ‘Staff transferring to another employer who is part of the CSP arrangements’ (paragraphs 6.1.6 to 6.1.11) for how to deal with this type of staff move or ‘transfer’.

Staff on loan from another CSP employer

Staff on loan will have already established their pension choice and are not permitted to change their option purely as a result of working on loan for another CSP employer.

Staff returning from a career break

Staff returning from a career break will stay in the scheme that they were in before their break.

After 1 April 2015 the member may be enrolled into alpha when they return from the career break, but this is dependent on their eligibility.

Pensioners immediately re- employed upon retirement

See guidance under ‘Other things you need to know – Rejoiner matters’, paragraph 4.1.53 onwards.

Staff who previously worked for the Northern Ireland Civil Service or   a ‘by-analogy’ organisation

If you appoint someone from the Northern Ireland Civil Service or a ‘by-analogy’ organisation, they may be able to join the CSP scheme that mirrors their previous arrangement as long as they have not taken their pension and:

  • they apply to transfer all their benefits from the by-analogy scheme within 12 months of joining, and
  • they have not had a break of more than 28 days in service between the two employments. Where there is a break of more than 28 days, you must treat the employee as a new entrant.

Where you appoint someone from the Northern Ireland Civil Service or a ‘by-analogy’ organisation and they are receiving a pension from that employment, they will only have the choice between alpha and partnership.

Note this arrangement applies only to multi employee by-analogy organisations and not to ‘one man schemes’ set up especially for individual post holders.

A list of by–analogy and analogous schemes can be found here.

Staff returning from secondment

See Section 5 ‘Secondment’ (paragraphs 5.5.1 to 5.5.6) for information on the treatment of secondments.

Helping you decide pension choices for new entrants and rejoiners

Please note: You must use the Pension Questionnaire and the Joiner Tool. It 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.

Although from 1 April 2015 most new entrants will only have a choice of joining either alpha or partnership, the choices for rejoiners and those with recent public service pension history are not straightforward. The Pensions Questionnaire and the Joiner Tool will help you identify the correct choices.

4.1.19 The questionnaire and the tool can be found here.

4.1.20 You must ensure that you collect information from your new employee about their previous Civil Service and public service pension scheme history, as this can affect their scheme eligibility. The questionnaire includes a section for your new employee to complete with this information. See ‘Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history’ and ‘Scheme Eligibility – The Presence Test’ (paragraphs 4.1.73 to 4.1.83) for further information.

4.1.21 Blank

4.1.22 Before issuing the questionnaire, you should put your return address in the space provided to let the appointee know where to return the form. You can input this on the form before you print it off.

4.1.23 You must send the questionnaire with the ‘conditional offer’ letter to the appointee and include the text we have provided in Annex 4B, letter text K. The text asks the appointee to complete and return the questionnaire to you without delay. You must give them sufficient time to complete it and enter an appropriate date for return in the letter.

4.1.24 The tool will tell you:

  • which pension choice(s) a rejoiner has,
  • which Starter Pack to order, and
  • which ‘Letter of Appointment’ (LOA) text to use.

The tool will also remind you about other actions (for example, abatement).

Actions once eligibility has been established

‘Enrolling' people into a pension scheme

4.1.25

  • All employees should be enrolled in one of the Civil Service pension schemes when they start regardless of the length of their contract.
  • The tool will tell you which scheme to enrol each rejoiner into, according to their circumstances.

Please note: ‘Your responsibilities under Automatic Enrolment’ (Section 4.4 of this guide) gives more information.

4.1.26 When a person is enrolled, you must tell them about the pension choices they have and send them the appropriate LOA text and order them a Starter Pack, if appropriate. The tool will guide you on which text you use for rejoiners.

4.1.27 You must give all new entrants and rejoiners 3 months from their start date to decide which scheme they wish to join. If a new entrant or rejoiner who has been enrolled in the CSP arrangements confirms within the 3 months that they wish to remain in that scheme, you backdate their choice to their start date and there is no further action to take (although in all cases you must keep the Pension Choices form on the member’s personnel file for future reference, and send a copy to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP)).

4.1.28 Where you have enrolled someone and they choose partnership on their Pension Choices form, as long as they have decided within 1 month of their start date, you must ‘unscramble’ contributions from the scheme they were enrolled into (if any were taken) and put them into partnership from their start date. See ‘Unscrambling’ in section 4.2 for details.

If they make the decision to join partnership after 1 month of their start date, you must treat their choice as a request to ‘switch’ schemes (see section 5 ‘Changing pension arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process).

4.1.29 If a new entrant or rejoiner who has been enrolled in the CSP arrangements confirms that they wish to opt out of the scheme, the action to take depends on whether they have confirmed their choice within 1 month or after 1 month but within 3 months of their start date (see ‘New entrants deciding to opt out’ (paragraph 4.1.52) for further details).

partnership rejoiners, rejoining within 28 days

4.1.30 Where a rejoiner was in partnership in their previous employment, joins your organisation within 28 days of leaving that employment and chooses to join partnership, they will be required to complete a new ‘Partnership pension account application form’ to resume contributions. You will then be required to send a joining instruction to the partnership provider before contributions can re-commence. Please see the Legal & General ‘Manage Submissions Interface Guide’ issued in EPN533 for further details of how to issue the joining instruction.

4.1.31 You can find a copy of the ‘Partnership pension account application form’ here.

Letter of appointment (LOA) text

4.1.32 You should insert the appropriate text into your standard LOA to tell the appointee about their pension choices. We have provided standard texts in Annex 4B. These texts relate to each of the particular pension choice(s) each group of new entrants and rejoiners have. The tool will tell you which letter text to use. Where applicable, the text notifies those employees who have been enrolled into one of the pension schemes.

Please note: The LOA texts include details about automatic enrolment. You must also ensure that you enclose a copy of the automatic enrolment factsheet with each LOA. The factsheet can be found here.

4.1.33 You should send the LOA before the person starts work. If this is not possible, then you should include the appropriate text in the ‘start letter’ or similar communication that is sent to the appointee with details of their joining arrangements.

Starter Packs

4.1.34 It is a statutory requirement that new entrants and rejoiners receive scheme information within two months of their start date. The Scheme Manager requires you, as the employer, to ensure that new staff receive scheme information much earlier. Please see ‘Ordering Starter Packs’ (paragraphs 4.1.38 to 4.1.44) for further information.

4.1.35 There are three Starter Packs, each designed for the different categories of new entrants and rejoiners. The tool will tell you which Starter Pack to order.

'alpha full' - for all new entrants eligible for alpha (and all rejoiners except those who only have a choice between nuvos and partnership, or premium and partnership).

‘NE1’ – for rejoiners eligible to join (or rejoin) nuvos – these will generally be people who previously left nuvos having qualified for a pension award and return with a break of less than 5 years (and are not eligible for enrolment into alpha). However, this could also include members who previously left classic, classic plus or premium depending on what terms the member previously left on (see Annex 4A for further details).

‘RJP’ (premium) – for rejoiners who are eligible to join (or rejoin) premium – these will generally be people who left classic, classic plus or premium on resignation with more than 2 years’ service, having qualified for a pension and who return with a break of less than 5 years (and are not eligible for enrolment into alpha).

4.1.36 All packs contain:

  • an introductory letter with a personalised Pension Choices Form attached. The letter tells all starters who are given pension choices that they have 3 months in which to decide which pension scheme they want to be in. The Pension Choices form also allows the new entrant/rejoiner to make a death benefit nomination; and
  • details of the partnership pension account provider website for new entrants/rejoiners to obtain further information if they are interested in this arrangement.

4.1.37 The NE1 Starter Pack also contains a leaflet entitled 'nuvos or partnership: an overview'; alpha full contains 'alpha or partnership: an overview'; RJP contains ‘premium or partnership: an overview’.

Ordering Starter Packs

4.1.38 All pension materials, including starter packs, are distributed by the Civil Service Pensions print supplier.

4.1.39 You must ask the Scheme Administrator to issue a starter pack when you issue the Letter Of Acceptance (LOA) or an earlier communication (if appropriate).

4.1.40 You can order a starter pack by downloading the latest version of the New Starter Pack Request spreadsheet, available here and emailing it to: starterpacks@mycsp.co.uk

You will receive an auto acknowledgement to confirm that we have received your order.

Please note: the New Starter Pack Request spreadsheet is continuously updated, so it is important that you download the latest version from our website each time you use it. Using an out of date version could cause a delay in processing your request.

4.1.41 If you are unable to use email to send the New Starter Pack Request spreadsheet, you can post your orders to the following address:

FAO Scheme Events Team
Civil Service Pensions
PO Box 2017
Liverpool
L69 2BU

4.1.42 You will not receive an acknowledgement of orders requested by post.

4.1.43 We recommend that you ask members during their induction if they have received their new starter pack. This will prompt members to make their pension choice and help you to identify anyone who has not received their pack.  

4.1.44 It is your responsibility to ensure that members receive a new starter pack. If a member has not received their new starter pack, you should contact: starterpacks@mycsp.co.uk.

If the member has a query about the Civil Service pension arrangements you should direct them to the Civil Service Pensions’ Enquiry Centre.

Dealing with Pension Choices forms

4.1.45 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. The form should not be returned to the Scheme Administrator, as they will not process them (a copy of the form should be passed to The Scheme Administrator – see Table 2 below for further details).

4.1.46 The forms are colour coded to help you recognise the actions you need to take according to new entrant or rejoiner status. Table 2 tells you about the colour coding and the actions to take when you receive these forms within three months.

Table 2 – Pension Choices form returned within three months of enrolment (or date member informed of being enrolled, if later)

Pension Choices form

Actions to take

alpha full (alpha) - white

If the member ticks that they would like to remain in alpha, you will have already enrolled the new entrant into alpha so there will be no further action for you. Pass a copy of the form to the Scheme   Administrator.

If the new entrant chooses partnership within one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must:

  • tell payroll to 'unscramble' alpha   contributions if any were taken (see ‘Unscrambling’ in section 4.2 for details); and
  • send the Pension Choices form to the   Scheme Administrator to tell them of the member's choice so that they can check that Compendia has been correctly noted.

If the new entrant chooses partnership after one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must treat their choice as a request to ‘switch’ schemes (see section 5 ‘Changing pension   arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process).

Further information about the action to take if a member ticks partnership is given in ‘Your responsibilities when staff join partnership’ (section   4.2).

NE1 - green

If the new entrant ticks that they want to stay in nuvos, you will have already enrolled this group into nuvos so there will be no further action for you to take. Pass a copy of the form to the Scheme Administrator.

If the new entrant chooses partnership within one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must:

      
  • tell payroll to 'unscramble' alpha contributions if any were taken (see ‘Unscrambling’ in section 4.2 for details); and
  •   
  • send the Pension Choices form to the Scheme Administrator to tell them of the member's choice so that they can check that Compendia has been correctly noted.

If the new entrant chooses partnership after one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must treat their choice as a request to ‘switch’ schemes (see section 5 ‘Changing pension arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process).

Further information about the action to take if a member ticks partnership is given in ‘Your responsibilities when staff join partnership’ (section   4.2).

RJP (premium) - red

If the rejoiner ticks that they want to remain in premium, you will have already enrolled this group into premium so there is no further action for you to   take. Pass a copy of the form to the Scheme Administrator.

If the new entrant chooses partnership within one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must:

      
  • tell payroll to 'unscramble' premium contributions if any were taken (see ‘Unscrambling’ in section 4.2 for details);
  •   
  • send the Pension Choices form to the Scheme Administrator to tell them of the member's choice so that they can check that Compendia has been correctly noted.

If the new entrant chooses partnership after one month of enrolment (or being informed of enrolment, if later), you must treat their choice as a request to ‘switch’ schemes (see section 5 ‘Changing pension   arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process).

Further information about the action to take if a member ticks partnership is given in ‘Your responsibilities when staff join partnership’ (section   4.2).

4.1.47 Where you have enrolled people into alpha, nuvos or premium, they may not always return their Pension Choices form. You should encourage them to do so as it includes their death benefit nomination and other important information.

Receiving Pension Choices forms after the three month decision period

4.1.48 Where staff return their Pension Choices form after the three month decision period, you will need to take the following action according to whether or not you enrolled them into alpha, nuvos or premium:

  • if they were enrolled automatically and wish to stay in that scheme, then there is no further action for you (although in all cases you must keep the Pension Choices form on the member’s personnel file for future reference and send a copy to the Scheme Administrator).
  • if they were enrolled but wish to join partnership, you must treat their choice as a request to ‘switch’ schemes. See section 5 ‘Changing pension arrangements’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 to 5.9.2) for details of the switching process. The      Scheme Administrator may take this action forward for you, according to your agreement with them (you must keep the Pension Choices form – see 1st bullet point above).

4.1.49 Where you receive a Pension Choices form after the three month decision period, you must first consider the reasons why there has been a delay in the return of the form. If the delay is as a result of your actions you should consider backdating the choice so that the member doesn’t lose out. See ‘Extending the deadline for new entrants’ (paragraphs 4.2.14 to 4.2.16) for further details where the member wishes to join partnership. You must get approval from the Scheme Manager, Cabinet Office before you take any action. Email: cspsemployerenquiries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

At-a-glance Employer Actions tables

4.1.50 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

4.1.51 Blank

4.1.52 If a new entrant who has been enrolled in the CSP arrangements confirms that they wish to opt out within three months of being enrolled or being told that they have been enrolled (if later), you should take the following action, depending on the circumstances stated:

a) If the new entrant has opted out within one month of being enrolled or being told that they have been enrolled (if later) you must tell your payroll to:

  • give the employee a refund of any alpha, nuvos or premium pension contributions they have paid for that period, less income tax; and
  • recover any overpaid alpha, nuvos or premium scheme ASLCs from the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote.

You do not need to wait for the Scheme Administrator to tell you to process the refund. However, you should send a copy of the completed Opt Out form so that they are aware of the member’s choice and can ensure that the member’s pension record correctly reflects the choice.

b) If the new entrant has opted out after one month of being enrolled or being told they have been enrolled (if later), you should send a copy of the completed Opt Out form to the Scheme Administrator and wait for them to tell you if a refund is to be paid through payroll. If the Scheme Administrator tells you to refund the employee contributions, you must tell your payroll to refund the contributions as instructed in a) above.

The opt out process and resulting action required is also set out in Annex 5D.

Please note: The different approaches to handling refunds that must be taken are to ensure that any new starters who may in fact be rejoiners with a previous preserved pension, are identified and that their contributions are dealt with appropriately under the relevant scheme or automatic enrolment rules. Most rejoiners with a previous preserved pension in a Civil Service scheme do not receive a refund for any further pension contributions made under the current scheme rules if they opt out after one month of being enrolled or being told they have been enrolled (if later).

A refund may be due in some circumstances, for example, where a rejoiner with a preserved PCSPS award is enrolled into alpha on rejoining and the break between their previous and their current Civil Service employment is over 5 years (and they have had no service in another public service pension scheme in between). The Scheme Administrator can provide further advice on this if required.

Abatement

4.1.53 Abatement may apply where a rejoiner:

  • is receiving a Civil Service pension or has received a pension lump sum before the re-employment; or
  • is receiving an Annual Compensation Payment (ACP); or
  • has received a Compulsory Early Severance package that included a reserved rights pension ‘top-up’ payment (for this group only, abatement will not apply to those who are employed on or after 30 July 2007 in nuvos. A quarantine period will apply instead for these members – see ‘Quarantine periods’ (paragraphs 4.1.55 to 4.1.57) below).

The tool will tell you if you have to do this. For details on how abatement works, please see ‘Your responsibilities when re-employing pensioners and form CSP13’ (section 4.3).

alpha pensions are not subject to abatement.

Rejoiners who have an upper-tier ill health pension

4.1.54 If, exceptionally, you re-employ someone who has an upper-tier ill health pension, they are not eligible to rejoin the CSP arrangements. This is because an upper-tier ill health pension includes a service enhancement through to pension age. If, after review, the upper-tier top-up is withdrawn, the person can then rejoin the pension arrangements. The rejoiner will then be eligible to join either alpha, nuvos or partnership depending on their eligibility (see Annex 4A).

Please note: you must enrol the person into the Civil Service pension scheme, notwithstanding the general exclusion of people with an upper-tier ill health pension in payment. In such circumstances, the quarantine process set out in the following paragraphs should be followed.

Quarantine periods

4.1.55 Where someone left with enhanced benefits:

  • on early retirement under compensation terms;
  • on ill-health terms; or
  • with reserved rights under compulsory early severance; they may have had their period of pensionable service enhanced.

On re-employment, you need to ensure they are prevented from paying pension contributions to build up any further pension until the period of enhancement (the “quarantine period”) has expired, although the member can opt to pay ‘extra’ contributions to purchase added pension and/or contribute to the Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (AVCS).

You must tell any rejoiner in this position when their quarantine period will expire in their letter of appointment. The tool will tell you the correct letter text to use. You must ask the Scheme Administrator for the quarantine period end date. You must also tell your payroll the quarantine period end date, so that they know when to start deducting employee contributions and paying the full ASLC.

4.1.56 You will be responsible for paying a mini-ASLC of 0.5% of the rejoiner’s pensionable earnings during the quarantine period to cover them for death in service.

4.1.57 Where a rejoiner decides to join partnership, they can make contributions (through payroll) to their account from their start date. You only pay a mini-ASLC of 0.5% during the enhancement (“quarantine”) period.

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

4.1.58 Where people are re-employed within 28 days having left under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) arrangements, this will be cancelled and they will have to repay any pension and/or compensation received. You must tell the Scheme Administrator so that they can take the necessary action.

4.1.59 Where a rejoiner who received an enhancement as part of an early or ill health retirement package decides to join partnership, they can make contributions (through payroll) to their account from their start date. You only pay a mini-ASLC of 0.5% during the enhancement (“quarantine”) period.

4.1.60 The Joiner Tool will guide you.

Compensation payments

4.1.61 Blank

4.1.62 If the break is more than 28 days, the member may have to repay some or all of their compensation. The Compensation lump sum will have to be repaid if the member rejoins within the lesser of i) 6 months, or ii) the notional period of the compensation lump sum. If re-employment is at a lower salary an adjustment will be made to the amount of compensation that is repaid.

4.1.63 You must tell the Scheme Administrator that the member had received a payment. They will then calculate the amount due and advise you of the amount that you should tell the member must be repaid.

4.1.64 Abatement of salary may apply to anyone who is re-employed after receiving reserved rights under the pre 22 December 2010 reserved rights terms. If they are re-employed within 6 months of leaving a portion of the compensation payment will be repayable. For members who are re-employed a quarantine period will apply.

Abatement of salary will not apply to anyone who is re-employed after receiving a percentage of reserved rights under the post 22 December 2010 CSCS arrangements. If they are re-employed within 6 months of leaving, a portion of the compensation payment will be repayable.

Joining past service with new service

4.1.65 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:

  • where the rejoiner has had a break of more than 28 days but less than 5 years and goes into premium, they will be able to link their two periods of service;
  • where the rejoiner is not eligible to go into premium and joins nuvos, they may choose to link their preserved service. This option will not be available to those who left with a compensation payment. The preserved service will be converted into final salary benefits similar to premium but with the service adjusted to reflect the later pension age in nuvos, and (if the preserved award was in classic or classic plus) differences in the benefits structure. When the member takes their nuvos pension benefits, the final salary element of their pension will be worked out on their final pensionable earnings at that time. Their new service will provide nuvos benefits built up each year – in other words, they will have a mix of final salary and nuvos benefits. The Scheme Administrator will handle any linking enquiries from rejoiners;
  • where the rejoiner is eligible for alpha, they do not choose to link their preserved service. This is an automatic process based on the length of the break in their scheme membership. Over 5 years is a 'disqualifying break', and the pensions must remain separate, under 5 years is a 'qualifying break' and the pensions are linked automatically. Where the pensions are linked automatically and the preserved award was in classic, classic plus or premium (or had an element of nuvos pension based on final salary), this is cancelled and recalculated at the time that the member leaves the scheme again and will be worked out on their final pensionable earnings at that time.

Pensioners re-employed immediately upon retirement

4.1.66 If a member retires from CSP employment on or after pension age, or leaves on actuarially reduced, lower tier ill health or approved early retirement before pension age, and you subsequently re-employ them after a break of 28 days, they will generally have the choice of alpha or partnership, or nuvos or partnership. This is dependent on the length of the break and whether the member previously qualified for full protection or tapered enrolment in the PCSPS (and has not yet passed their tapered enrolment date) – see Annex 4A for further information.

4.1.67 These arrangements do not apply to those who are re-employed having left on upper tier ill health retirement. See ‘Rejoiners who have an upper-tier ill health pension’ (paragraph 4.1.54) above.

4.1.68 In all cases where a pensioner is re-employed, their PCSPS pension will be abated (reduced or suspended) if their pension plus new annual rate of salary exceeds their pensionable earnings immediately before retiring. alpha pensions are not subject to abatement while in payment. See ‘Your responsibilities when re-employing pensioners and form CSP13’ (section 4.3) for details of the action you need to take.

4.1.69 On final retirement, their pension will be calculated according to the relevant re-employment provisions in their pension scheme.

4.1.70

Please note: partial retirement was introduced on 1 March 2008. Partial retirement has replaced the provisions for re-employment immediately after taking pension, (although formal retirement continues to exist for “Pre-Fresh Start” Prison Officers). See Annex 4G for guidance relating to partial retirement.

Transferring pension benefits into the CSP arrangements

4.1.71 If you have a new entrant who wishes to transfer their benefits from a previous pension into the CSP arrangements, you should refer them to the Scheme Administrator.

Scheme Eligibility - Public service pension scheme history

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

4.1.74  If a person has service in a previous public service pension scheme it can affect their Civil Service pension rights in four ways:

  • if the individual qualified for tapered enrolment/protection in their previous scheme they may qualify for tapered enrolment in the Civil Service scheme;
  • if the individual qualified for full protection in their former scheme, they may qualify for full protection in the Civil Service scheme; 
  • if they have preserved benefits in the Civil Service scheme and their break between the public service employments is five or less years then the deferred CSP award will be cancelled. This is regardless of the fact that their total break between Civil Service pension employments could exceed five years; 
  • if they have transferred their final salary rights to the Civil Service scheme after a break in service of five or less years then they retain the final salary link for those pension rights. 

4.1.75  You need to find out if an individual has belonged to one of the following public service Pension schemes:

  • Judiciary;
  • Local Government Pension Scheme;
  • Teachers’ Pension Scheme;
  • National Health Service Scheme;
  • Fire and Rescue Workers’ Scheme;
  • Police Forces Scheme; and
  • Armed Forces Scheme.

4.1.76 You need to capture public service pension history since 31 March 2007 for any new joiner, as a qualifying break could not have started before that date. A qualifying break is a break that was under five years and that could make an employee eligible for full protection or tapered protection/enrolment.

4.1.77 New joiners are requested to supply details of their public service pension scheme history on the Pensions Questionnaire. It is employers’ responsibility to use the information to enrol new staff in the right scheme. You must input the information provided on the Pension Questionnaire in the Joiner Tool to ensure you enrol your staff into the correct scheme. The questionnaire and the tool can be found here. Employers need to tell the Scheme Administrator about an individual’s public service pension history so they can calculate benefits using the final salary link where appropriate.

4.1.78  You must have collected this information for your existing staff in service before 1 April 2015.

4.1.79  If someone had full protection or qualified for tapered protection/enrolment in their previous scheme then this may mean they also qualify in the Civil Service scheme. This information was required so that you could make the right decision about whether or not to migrate the individual to the alpha scheme on 1 April 2015.

Scheme Eligibility - The presence test

4.1.80  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.

4.1.81  There are two dates when a member is checked against the ‘presence test’, 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2015.

4.1.82  On these dates they are checked to see if they were a member of a public service pension scheme, or on a qualifying break in membership.

For a break to be a ‘qualifying break’, a member must have pension benefits from their previous period of scheme membership (e.g. a preserved award) and have joined another public service pension scheme within five years.

4.1.83  Members who fail the presence check (they were not present or on a qualifying break on both dates) can only be eligible for the alpha scheme unless they fall into one of the exception groups.

The Joiner Tool will identify the correct scheme to enrol new members into.

There is more information available about eligibility for alpha, public service history and the presence tests available here.

4.2 Your responsibilities when staff join partnership

Introduction

4.2.1 Section 3.2 (‘Overview of pension schemes’) of this guide tells you about the partnership pension account and how it works. Please read it before processing any partnership applications.

4.2.2 The new entrant Starter Pack tells new entrants who are interested in opening a partnership account to visit the providers’ website for further information.

4.2.3 Annex 1D gives further information about contacting the provider. Members are responsible for obtaining information from the provider directly.

4.2.4 New entrants complete the Pension Choices form and fill in the ‘Partnership pension account application form’ from the ‘Member Forms’ section of the Civil Service pension scheme website. They send both forms to you. If the new entrant applies for partnership within one month of the start of their employment, they are entitled to have the employer contributions to partnership backdated to the first day of service.

Employer actions

4.2.5 You are responsible for processing the forms. This means that the new entrant’s partnership pension account is not set up until you process the application form and details are sent to the provider.

The section below sets out the steps for you and your payroll to follow.

Actions for employer and payroll

Step 1

Check the Pension Choices form. This will show you that the new entrant 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 entrant 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 entrant 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 entrant that if they make their pension choice within the first month of employment you will backdate their choice to their first day of service.

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

Step 2

Check the application form to ensure that:

  • the new entrant has entered all of their personal details on the application form, and signed and dated the form,
  • 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 entrant 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 alpha, nuvos or premium on joining service (see ‘Unscrambling’ (paragraphs 4.2.17 to 4.2.18). It is reasonable to do so if the new entrant originally returned their form within the initial one month. However, you may decide against unscrambling if the new entrant 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 entrant’s or rejoiner’s salary (if the member has chosen to contribute) and to unscramble alpha, nuvos or premium contributions if necessary (see ‘Unscrambling’ (paragraphs 4.2.17 to 4.2.18).

Where the member returns their form after 1 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 2 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 entrant 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 entrant 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 cspsemployerenquiries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. 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).

Employers’ regulatory responsibility

4.2.6 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, which means that the pension provider has strict guidelines to adhere to. If you do not follow these procedures, the provider may report you to The Pensions Regulator.

4.2.7 Your payroll must send contributions to the provider as soon as possible after being deducted from an employee’s pay. This is so that the member does not suffer a loss of investment opportunity. There is a statutory deadline under the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999, which requires the employee and employer contributions to be paid by the 22nd day of the month (19th day if paid by cheque) following the month in which they were deducted from the policyholder’s salary. You should, ideally, instruct your payroll to pay contributions within the shortest possible time.

4.2.8 The pension provider tells us of any employers who do not get payments and required information to them within the statutory set time limits.

Policy start dates

4.2.9 The pension provider will send a policy schedule to the member when the application has been processed. The start date on the policy schedule is unlikely to be the date the new entrant took up employment with the Civil Service or the day they signed their application form. The provider allocates the policy start date as the month in which they receive and process the first contributions. This can include backdated contributions but the policy schedule itself will not be backdated.

Cooling off’ period

4.2.10 After applying for partnership, the member has a 30 day ‘cooling off’ period in which to change their mind. The provider will write to you and refund both the employee and employer contributions if the member cancels their policy. You must arrange for the member to receive a refund of their contributions.

Sporadic earnings

4.2.11 Some employees do not receive regular pensionable earnings. This is particularly common with fee-paid staff who often invoice the employing department as and when they do work for them. If such a person opts to join partnership, you must follow the same process as outlined in 4.2.5 above.

4.2.12 The Pensions Regulator requirements mean that employers must tell the partnership provider if no contributions are to be paid in a particular month and the reason why.

4.2.13 The Legal & General guide ‘Manage Submissions Interface Guide’ (issued in EPN533) gives further information on what action to take where there are no pensionable earnings and therefore no contributions for a particular month.

Extending the deadline for new entrants

4.2.14 Sometimes new entrants, through no fault of their own, do not receive their Starter Pack until some way into their first months service. In these circumstances, you should encourage individuals to return their Pension Choices form as soon as possible, but you should still allow them one month to make their choice if they need it. On receipt of the form, you should process it as quickly as possible, backdating employer partnership contributions to the first day of service.

4.2.15 In this situation, or if there is a delay in processing the partnership application form, you will need to tell the new entrant that you will backdate any employee contributions to their first day of service. Therefore, significant arrears could mean a big deduction from one month’s pay. See ‘Unscrambling’ (paragraphs 4.2.17 to 4.2.18).

4.2.16 A new entrant can vary their initial contributions to avoid significant arrears being deducted from one month’s pay. Individuals might, for example, choose not to make contributions for the months that are backdated, and only contribute for the future. They could do this by indicating a zero contribution on their provider application form and then opting for an increase by completing a contribution change form.

Unscrambling

4.2.17 If a new entrant is enrolled into alpha, nuvos or premium and they opt for partnership within one month of joining, you must fully backdate their choice of partnership to their first day of service.

4.2.18 This means that you (or your payroll) must:

  • refund to the employee any employee contributions paid, less income tax;
  • recover overpaid scheme ASLCs from Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote;
  • pay a backdated mini-ASLC to Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote to cover death and ill-health benefits;
  • work out employee (if applicable) and employer partnership pension contributions from the first day of service, and send these backdated contributions to the pension provider with the first payroll run following the member joining partnership.

The table below sets out the cash flows when you have to take unscrambling action.

Cashflows to unscramble contributions for new joiners and rejoiners

Paid to

How cost is met

Action by

Refund of alpha, nuvos or premium contributions

Employee (via payroll)

Offset against payments of employee contributions to Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote

Employer/payroll

Refund of ASLCs

Employer

Offset against payments of ASLCs to Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote

Employer/payroll

mini-ASLC

Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation   Vote

Employer

Employer/payroll

Backdated employee’s partnership contributions

Pension provider

Employee (via payroll)

Payroll

Backdated employer’s partnership contributions

Pension provider

Employer (via payroll)

Payroll

Contribution Equivalent Premium (CEP)

4.2.19 Prior to April 2016, part of the unscrambling process was the payment of a CEP to National Insurance Contributions Office (NICO). alpha, nuvos and premium scheme members were contracted out of S2P prior to this date. Paying a CEP bought them back into S2P for the period they were defaulted into alpha, nuvos or premium. A Certified Amount (employee share) of the CEP was deducted from any refund of contributions due. Contracting Out of the S2P ceased from April 2016 and therefore this process is not applicable to new joiners after this date.

4.2.20 Further guidance is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk

Employee leaves, having chosen partnership, before employer action is completed.

4.2.21 If an employee applies for partnership but leaves before you have completed your action, you must honour the agreement and pay any outstanding contributions for the period the account runs from and to. In cases where someone has left your employment and has been taken off your payroll before you have had time to set up their account, your payroll must:

  • action the account with the application form and pay the age-related contribution,
  • ask the member to pay their contribution direct to the pension provider, and
  • check with the provider that the member has done so.

Your payroll must also find out the amount the member has paid so that they (payroll) can pay any outstanding matching contributions.

Member wishes to transfer other pension benefits into their partnership account

4.2.22 If a member chooses partnership and wishes to transfer any other pension benefits they may have into it, they can contact the new provider directly. Annex 1D gives further information about contacting the provider.

Ongoing payroll action

4.2.23 Your payroll must follow the Legal & General ‘Manage Submissions Interface Guide’ issued in EPN533 for ongoing action.

4.3 Your responsibilities when re-employing pensioners and form CSP13

Introduction

4.3.1 Pensioners who receive a pension under the CSP arrangements and who are re-employed by a CSP employer may not earn more, by way of re-employed salary and pension, than they were earning before they retired. Where re-employed salary and pension exceed previous earnings, the excess is deducted from their pension. This is known as ‘abatement’. Abatement may apply to members opting for partial retirement. See annex 4G for further information regarding partial retirement. alpha pensions in payment are not subject to any abatement.

4.3.2 For the purposes of abatement, an Annual Compensation Payment (ACP) is treated in the same way as a pension. All references to pensions or pensioners below also include members with ACPs.

4.3.3 Abatement, where applicable, only operates for the duration of the re- employment.

4.3.4 Members who are over age 75 are not affected by abatement.

4.3.5 Abatement of salary rather than pension can apply to those re-employed after having received a compensation payment under a Compulsory Early Severance (CES) package that included a reserved rights ‘top-up’ payment. This is because the ‘top-up’ payment includes an element of pension. Please see paragraph 4.3.14 for information on how to deal with this group. This does not apply to members who return after 30 July 2007 and join nuvos/alpha, however, they may be subject to a quarantine period.

4.3.6 Abatement applies whether or not the employment is pensionable. This does not apply, however, if a pensioner works less than a total of 15 days in any 91-day period.

4.3.7 You must use the Pensions Questionnaire in your recruitment process to determine eligibility for the pension arrangements (see Section 4.1). The information collected enables you to identify individuals who have a pension or ACP in payment from an employment covered by the CSP arrangements before they are appointed. The Joiner Tool will identify the correct choice of pension scheme(s) available to them.

4.3.8 If you are recruiting an individual who received compensation as a result of the termination of previous employment covered by the CSP arrangements (for example, as a result of Voluntary Exit), then their compensation could be affected. Again, the Pension Questionnaire will collect this information and the Joiner Tool will identify the correct choice of pension scheme(s). If the member returns within 28 days then the award is cancelled and the compensation payment must be repaid.

4.3.9 People who retired or left with a compensation payment/pension were told, as part of their pension notification that, if they become re-employed in employment covered by the CSP arrangements, they must tell the new employer about their previous service because of possible abatement. They are also responsible for telling the Scheme Administrator that they are taking up the new employment. However, you have a responsibility to notify the member about possible abatement where they tell you they are receiving a pension and you have the responsibility to tell the Scheme Administrator that the pensioner has started work with you. The Joiner Tool will prompt you to take abatement action, where appropriate.

Appointment actions

4.3.10 You must tell pensioners who are being offered re-employment about the effect of the re-employment provisions of the CSP arrangements on their pension, including abatement, before they take up the new post. We have produced a leaflet on abatement which you should give to any pensioner who is receiving a pension under the CSP arrangements and who is applying for re-employment. The leaflet can be downloaded from our website under Publications: ‘What is abatement?’

4.3.11 When offering a post to a CSP pensioner, you should obtain an abatement estimate from the Scheme Administrator, using CSP13 (Estimate) form. The information from the Scheme Administrator will help the pensioner to make an informed choice whether or not to accept the post.

Both CSP13 (Estimate) and CSP13 forms can be found here.

4.3.12 Once the pensioner has accepted the post, you must tell the Scheme Administrator using form CSP13.

Please note: you must carry out the CSP13 (Estimate) procedure without delay as you must tell the member whether or not their pension (or pay if they have CES Reserved Rights) is going to be affected before they decide to accept the post. Not to do so could result in the member accepting the post where they may not have done had they been given the information at the outset.

Equally, you must carry out the CSP13 procedure without delay as there is a potential for large arrears of pension (or salary) abatement being deducted from one month’s pension or salary.

4.3.13 You should email or fax the CSP13 (Estimate) and CSP13 forms to the Scheme Administrator:

Email: contactcentre@mycsp.co.uk or contactcentre@mycsp.gse.gov.uk

Fax: 0151 227 1469

The Scheme Administrator will send an acknowledgement to let you know they have actioned the form.

4.3.14 In the case of those re-employed after receiving CES reserved rights, if the individual accepts the post, you must tell the Scheme Administrator using the CSP13, as above. However, the Scheme Administrator will then tell you whether or not the member’s pay is affected or if they are subject to a quarantine period and you must pass this information to your payroll so that they can impose the necessary deductions from pay.

Completing the CSP13 (Estimate) and CSP13 forms

4.3.15 To complete the CSP13 (Estimate), you will need to provide:

  • the member’s details,
  • the date of re-employment,
  • the re-employed salary (including the part-time rate if applicable),
  • any permanent pensionable allowances (including the part-time rate if applicable), and
  • the weekly hours.

4.3.16 All references to salary include where appropriate, London weighting, London Allowances and local pay additions, but exclude all other pensionable allowances and other additional payments.

4.3.17 If the member is being re-employed on a fee-paid basis you will need to provide details of the terms of employment and the applicable fees.

4.3.18 Once the form is complete, you will then need to send it to the Scheme Administrator for their action (see ‘Scheme Administrator action’ (paragraphs 4.3.24 to 4.3.26) below).

4.3.19 As soon as the pensioner acknowledges that they understand and accept the terms of abatement, you must complete box A of the CSP13 and send it to the Scheme Administrator for their action (see ‘Scheme Administrator action’ (paragraphs 4.3.24 to 4.3.26) below). You will need to replicate the information used to complete the CSP13 (Estimate).

Ongoing action

4.3.20 Once the level of abatement (or earnings margin) has been calculated for a re-employed pensioner, it will not normally change during the course of the re-employment, other than an annual increase in line with inflation. The normal annual increase in the person’s re-employed salary will not result in a recalculation of abatement.

4.3.21 However, you will need to complete box B or C of form CSP13 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.

Resignation

4.3.22 You must complete box D of form CSP13 to notify the Scheme Administrator. On resignation, you need to take prompt action to ensure that the abated pension is reinstated as soon as possible after the termination of employment date. You must ensure that you notify the Scheme Administrator as soon as you know the termination of employment date.

4.3.23 You will need to consider how you ensure that a CSP13 is completed for every change of circumstance. We suggest that you include a prompt for HR staff on their Staff Advice Notices/Change of Circumstances forms.

Scheme Administrator action

4.3.24 On receipt of the CSP13 (Estimate) the Scheme Administrator will calculate any abatement due as a result of taking up the post offered. They will advise you of the details within five working days of receiving the CSP13 (Estimate).

4.3.25 On receipt of the CSP13 on appointment, the Scheme Administrator formally assess whether abatement should apply and write to the pensioner with the details. They will copy the letter to you within five working days of receiving the CSP13 so that you know it has been done. They will also assess any changes to terms of employment notified by further CSP13s and advise the member of any consequences to their pension.

4.3.26 On receipt of the CSP13 on resignation, the Scheme Administrator will reinstate the pension in payment from the resignation date and confirm their action to the pensioner within five working days of receiving the CSP13.

4.4 Your responsibilities under Automatic Enrolment

Introduction

4.4.1 The Pensions Act 2011 places a requirement on all employers to identify workers who earn over the automatic enrolment earnings trigger, are aged 22 or over, and under State Pension age to be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. This includes temporary workers.

4.4.2 Automatic enrolment was introduced over a period of several years, starting from autumn 2012. Each employer had a date on which they had to begin the process of automatic enrolment. This is referred to as the ‘staging date’. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) wrote to the Permanent Secretary (or equivalent) of each employer approximately 12 months prior to their staging date to advise them to prepare for automatic enrolment. TPR also sent out a reminder approximately 3 months before the employer’s staging date.

4.4.3 The Civil Service already enrolled the majority of new entrants into a qualifying pension scheme, and the Minister for the Cabinet Office (MCO) decided that this would continue irrespective of the wider eligibility criteria in the legislation. This decision was extended to cover the automatic enrolment of all civil servants not in a qualifying pension scheme at the departments’ staging date and at the anniversary date (see following paragraph).

4.4.4 Workers can choose to opt out of the scheme once they have been automatically enrolled. However, 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’. For those who have opted out of the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements the section/scheme they should be enrolled into when they are re-enrolled will depend on whether they qualified for full protection (where they will return to their previous scheme), tapered enrolment (opting in before or after their tapered enrolment date will see them join their old scheme or alpha respectively), or have no protection (they will join alpha). The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP arrangements to re-enrol optants out into.

4.4.5 Blank

4.4.6 Blank

What do I need to do?

4.4.7 Employers will need to take the following actions:

  • Enrol all new entrants into the CSP scheme;
  • Enrol other government department (OGD) transferees (but not those on loan) into the CSP scheme if not already a member (or in partnership);
  • Monitor workers who opt out of the pension scheme to re-enrol if they achieve eligibility under automatic enrolment legislation;
  • Re-enrol all workers not in a CSP scheme at the three year re-enrolment date and every three years thereafter;
  • Retain specific records to ensure compliance with automatic enrolment legislation.

Additional Information Non-Civil Service employers

4.4.8 Employers who participate in the CSP arrangements by virtue of being listed in Schedule 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 (known as Schedule 1 bodies), are not covered by the MCO’s direction referred to in paragraph 4.4.3, above. They may, however, choose to adopt this policy for their own employees.

Employees with a Partnership Pension Account

4.4.9 Employees who have opted not to join the CSP arrangements on joining service, or opted out during service and opened a partnership pension account instead, do not need to be automatically enrolled into the PCSPS or alpha. This is because partnership is a ‘qualifying scheme’ as defined under the automatic enrolment legislation.

Lifetime Allowance and Fixed Protection

4.4.10 EPN326 provided information about changes to the Lifetime Allowance and the implications of applying for fixed protection. To retain fixed protection in a defined benefit scheme, such as the CSP arrangements, the individual cannot accrue any further benefit. Consequently, the vast majority of those who have applied for fixed protection will have opted out of the CSP arrangements. When such people are automatically enrolled or re-enrolled into the scheme, they will have to opt out of the scheme again within one month of being enrolled, or (if later) within one month of their employer telling them that they have been automatically enrolled. Otherwise, they will build up benefits and may lose their fixed protection.

Members with preserved awards

4.4.11 People who have opted out and have preserved benefits in the CSP scheme must also opt out within one month of being automatically enrolled, or (if later) within one month of their employer telling them that they have been automatically enrolled if they do not wish to build up further benefits in the scheme. This is because there is no minimum qualifying service required for those who already have preserved benefits in the scheme.

Where the member is eligible for alpha on automatic-enrolment, and does not opt out within one month, they do not choose to link their preserved service. This is an automatic process based on the length of the break in their scheme membership. Over 5 years is a 'disqualifying break', and the person’s pensions must remain separate; under five years is a 'qualifying break' and the pensions are linked automatically. Where the preserved award was in classic, classic plus or premium (or had an element of nuvos pension based on final salary), this is cancelled and recalculated at the time that the member leaves the scheme again and will be worked out on their final pensionable earnings at that time.

One-person schemes

4.4.12 People who are in one-person pension arrangements (often operating by-analogy to the CSP arrangements) do not need to be auto-enrolled into the CSP arrangements. This is because they are already in a qualifying pension scheme.

Employees transferred in from another PCSPS employer

4.4.13 If an employee transfers from one CSP employer to another, and they are in the CSP scheme or partnership, their membership of that scheme will continue unchanged. However, if they have previously opted out of the CSP scheme and not joined partnership, the new employer must automatically enrol them into the section of the scheme they previously opted out of or alpha depending on whether they qualified for full protection (where they will return to their previous scheme), tapered enrolment (opting in before or after their tapered enrolment date will see them join their old scheme or alpha respectively), or have no protection (they will join alpha). The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP arrangements to re-enrol optants out into. However, this does not apply if the person is only on loan from their parent employer.

4.4.14 Therefore, it is essential that the transferring employer advises the new employer which section of the CSP arrangements the individual opted out of previously. In the absence of this information, they should advise what date the individual commenced Civil Service (or Schedule 1) employment, and the date they opted out of the scheme.

Revised OGD transfer form (OGDTF1)

4.4.15 As stated above, in order to ensure compliance with automatic enrolment legislation, when an employee transfers between departments, the importing department must ensure that the worker is in a qualifying pension scheme from the first day of employment in the importing department, if they are not already in one.

4.4.16 To help with this, the form employers complete when transferring employees to another employer covered by the Civil Service pension arrangements has been revised. This form can be found in Annex 6B of the Employer’s Pension Guide.

4.4.17 The revised form (OGDTF1) is designed to facilitate the necessary change to current practices. OGDTF1 form is not intended to go via the Scheme Administrator but should instead be sent directly from exporting to importing department.

4.4.18 Departments should consider their internal security procedures when sharing personal information with other departments, and ensure that the employee has given their permission for this data to be shared.

Re-enrolment of people who opt out before age 22 and/or whilst earning below the specified minimum

4.4.19 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 both of these criteria are met:

  • If an employee opts out of the CSP scheme (and does not join partnership) below age 22, their employer must automatically enrol them into the CSP scheme once they reach age 22 – irrespective of when they last opted out, and
  • 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.

Action at three year re-enrolment date (Anniversary date)

4.4.20 All employees who have opted out of the CSP scheme, and have not joined an alternative qualifying scheme, must be re-enrolled by the employer periodically. The default position is that re-enrolment will take place on the third anniversary of the employer’s staging date. However, employers do have some flexibility as to their exact re-enrolment date (further information is available from The Pensions Regulator’s website).

4.4.21 After the introduction of alpha on 1 April 2015, a member should be enrolled into the scheme they are eligible to join on the staging date. This will depend on whether the member previously qualified for full protection in the PCSPS (where they will return to their previous scheme), tapered enrolment (opting in before or after their tapered enrolment date will see them join their old scheme or alpha respectively), or have no protection (they will join alpha). The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP arrangements to re-enrol optants out into.

Revised opt out process

4.4.22 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.

4.4.23 The employer is now responsible for taking appropriate and timely action to process requests from members to opt out of the CSP arrangements, before passing information to the Scheme Administrator to update their records. The single opt out process applies regardless of which scheme the member wishes to opt out of, or their reason for opting out. Please see section 5 ‘Opting Out’ (paragraphs 5.9.3 to 5.9.8) for more information about the opting out process. Annex 5D sets out the refund process.

Additional information for employers to refer employees to following automatic enrolment

Forms and publications

4.4.24 In addition to the obligation employers have to inform employees about automatic enrolment and the date on which employees have been automatically enrolled or will be automatically re-enrolled, employers should also let members know what other actions they might need to take. Employers should tell employees automatically enrolled that they may need to complete a death benefit nomination form.

4.4.25 The form can be found here

4.4.26 There is an automatic enrolment factsheet for members under publications that gives an overview of automatic enrolment and what it means in the Civil Service.

4.4.27 More information about the Civil Service pension arrangements, such as copies of the main scheme booklets, overview booklets and other publications can also be found on the Civil Service website.

Letters and starter packs

4.4.28 The model appointment letter texts provided in Annex 4B were amended to reflect automatic enrolment following its introduction.

4.4.29 The contents of the starter packs that employers order from the schemes print suppliers have been updated in line with automatic enrolment. Generic statements about automatic enrolment are included in the main scheme booklets. The Pension Choices forms NE1 and RJP were updated to include text about automatic enrolment. The NE2 form is now obsolete.

Please note: the revised Pension Choices form NE1 no longer gives new starters an immediate choice not to join a pension scheme. Employees who do not wish to join or want to opt out will have to complete an Opt Out form and follow the process set out in section 5.9 (‘Opting out’).

4.4.30 Departments will continue to order and issue starter packs (and Pension Choices forms) alpha full, NE1 or RJP as appropriate.

4.4.31 Blank