Date posted: 28/05/2020


  • HR manager
  • Pension leads


  • Highlighting the change to the time limits for returning Pension Choices forms. 
  • There has been an update to the Starter Packs for new joiners to provide greater clarity to members. 
  • There has also been an update to a number of other guidance documents and forms to clarify certain option periods and the effect the options may have on a member's benefit entitlement.


  • To note what guidance documents and forms have been updated (see detail section below). 
  • To follow the procedures set out in the Employer Pension Guide (EPG) to ensure that you process your employees’ options correctly. 


  • Immediate 


1. The time limits for new joiners returning their Pension Choices form has reduced since the introduction of auto-enrolment. The main change affects members who want to join the partnership scheme.

2. If a new joiner returns their Pension Choices form within one month of receiving it and they choose partnership, they would be treated as though they had been in partnership from day one. This period was previously three months. 

3. If a new joiner returns their Pension Choices form after one month of receiving it and they choose partnership, they should be treated under the switching process as directed under EPN 518. This means that they will be enrolled into partnership, two months after they return their form. 

4. For new joiners who opt out, there is no change in the current rules. 

5. Given the change to the timescale, a number of pension scheme documents, guides and forms have been updated: 

  • Starter Packs – ‘alpha full’, ‘NE1’ (nuvos) and ‘RJP’ (premium)
  • alpha scheme guide
  • nuvos scheme guide
  • premium scheme guide
  • ‘Leaving nuvos before pension age with less than 2 years’ service’ guide
  • Opting out form and factsheet
  • What to expect guide - ‘What to expect...if you leave before Normal Pension Age’ 

6. Starter Packs the Starter Packs have been updated to make it clearer that new starters must return their Pension Choices form within one month of receiving their pack if they wish to open a partnership pension account and have their choice backdated to their first day of service. 

If a member returns their forms after one month, their option to join partnership is treated as a request to switch schemes and takes effect from the first pay period, two months after the date they make their choice. 

There will also be improvements to the way Starter Packs are requested and issued in the coming months. 

7. Scheme guides and formsthe scheme guides and forms listed above have been updated to provide greater clarity to members leaving the scheme (including opting out) with less than two years’ service and what benefits they are entitled to, if any (which is dependent on their actual length of service). 

8. The EPG details the processes you must follow for new starters and those leaving the scheme with less than two years’ service. Please refer to the EPG to ensure that your employees’ options are correctly processed.


If you have a question about the distribution of EPNs, or would like to receive them in a different format, please contact

You can find electronic copies of the Employer Pension Guide, all current EPNs and forms in the Employer section of the Civil Service Pensions website.

This notice is for employers and should not be issued to scheme members.

Members can find information about their pension by visiting the member's section.

28 May 2020
Last updated:
24 April 2023