If I do not want to be in alpha, what are my other options?
There are two choices:
You can choose the partnership scheme.
You can opt out of the pension scheme and choose not to be a member of alpha or the partnership scheme.
partnership and switching schemes
What is partnership?
The partnership pension account is a defined contribution pension arrangement. Members of the partnership scheme do not have to contribute but their employer will. Contributions are invested in a fund or selection of funds.
If you want more details on how the scheme works, you can find them in the booklet partnership pension account: A guide to available benefits.
How do I join partnership?
There are two ways to do this and it depends on when you want to join.
Joining partnership as a new joiner: When you join you will have received a new entrant pack that includes a Pension Choices form, you can choose to be a member of partnership on this form.
Joining partnership at another time: You can switch to partnership from alpha at any time. Further information on switching can be found on the Civil Service Pensions website.
Can I leave partnership and join alpha?
Yes, you can switch back into alpha. However, once you have completed a switch between schemes you can’t switch back for 12 months.
What happens to my pension when I switch?
Your pension (alpha or partnership) is treated in the same way as it would be if you left the scheme any other way.
In alpha this means you will get a transfer / refund option, or a preserved pension depending on how much service you have.
You can choose to opt out and leave alpha while remaining in employment. By opting out you are not covered by the alpha scheme, and the benefits that come with it.
You may want to seek financial advice before choosing to opt out. You can find tips on finding an Independent Financial Adviser by visiting the Financial Conduct Authority website: www.fca.org.uk
How do I opt out?
You will need to complete an opt out request form and send it to your employer.
What is the process for opting out?
Once your employer has received your opt out form they will stop the pension contributions being taken from your pay, usually from the following pay period.
Your employer will let the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) know that you have opted out of the pension that you have opted out of the pension scheme.
What happens to my pension when I opt out?
Just like leaving alpha in any other way, you will be offered a refund / transfer option, or a preserved pension based on how much service you have.
If you opt out within one month of joining, or you opt out after one month but within three months and do not have any previous service you will only be eligible for a refund which your employer will refund with your salary.
Can I opt in to alpha?
If you have opted out of alpha you are able to opt back into alpha as long as you are still eligible to join the scheme.
If you choose to opt out again, you will not be able to opt back into the scheme until 12 months after your last opt in date.
How do I opt in?
You will need to complete an opt in request form and send it to your employer.
What is the process for opting in?
When your opt in request is received, your employer will restart your pension membership and your contributions. This will usually take effect from your next pay period provided you have given enough notice.
What happens to my pension when I opt in?
You start building up alpha pension.
If you had a previous preserved alpha pension it may be joined up with your new period of service if your break between the two periods is five years or less.
What is automatic enrolment?
The Pensions Act 2011 requires all employers to automatically enrol most employees who are not in a qualifying pension scheme periodically (usually every three years), from the employer’s staging date. However, the Civil Service applies this to all employees.
I switched schemes to partnership, do I get automatically enrolled into alpha?
No. Being a member of partnership will count as being a scheme member. You will not be ‘switched’ back into alpha.
I opted out, do I get automatically enrolled into alpha?
Yes. Opting out means you are not a scheme member. You will be enrolled back into alpha.
I don’t want to be automatically enrolled. Do I have to go into alpha?
Your employer must enrol you, but you do not have to remain in alpha. You can supply a further opt out form to your employer.
After being automatically re-enrolled, opting out will have different results depending on when you do it, and your previous pensions.
If you opt out within one month of joining alpha, you will get a refund of contributions.
If you opt out after one month, you will get a refund of contributions if you have less than two years qualifying service, or a preserved pension if you have more than this.