Up to 30 September 2002, the only pension offered to Civil Servants was the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). On 1 October 2002, Civil Service Pensions introduced a new section of the PCSPS, and existing members of PCSPS were given the choice to stay in their current section – renamed classic – or join the new section, premium, or choose a hybrid of classic and premium, called classic plus.

New entrants cannot join classic plus. Exceptionally, someone who was in classic plus may rejoin classic plus if they are re-employed by the same employer, or by another employer who participates in the CSP arrangements, within 28 days of leaving their previous Civil Service employment. This does not include people who left under compensation terms.

Part-time work and temporary absences from work

Any type of part-time service counts on the basis of the actual hours you work and the equivalent full-time pensionable earnings. However, in the past there have been various restrictions on who can join the scheme depending on the number of hours worked. If you have had part-time service in the past, the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) can tell you how these restrictions may apply to you.

Your pension may be affected if you have a temporary absence from work, depending on the type of absence. Your employer or the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will be able to advise you.

Transferring in previous pension benefits

If you have pension benefits in the scheme of a previous employer, you may transfer them into classic plus. To do so, you must apply, in writing, to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) who will guide you through making the transfer. The transfer must be completed before you leave pensionable service in classic plus.

The transfer value will buy a credit of reckonable service in classic plus and will be used to provide the equivalent of premium benefits (in other words, it will be treated as post-October 2002 service). You should note that the scheme may refuse the transfer if it does not cover the cost of your guaranteed minimum pension. Similarly, the scheme may refuse a transfer where the sending scheme does not meet certain requirements.

Public Sector Transfer Club

Most classic plus members are no longer able to transfer in pension benefits under the Public Sector Transfer Club arrangements or from a non- occupational pension scheme because you have to apply within 12 months of becoming eligible to join classic plus.

If, however, you are entitled to do so, please be aware that an expression of interest into the possibility of transferring in your pension is not considered to be an application. An application is a signed declaration that you are happy for the transfer to proceed.

Opting out

You can opt out of classic plus at any time. However, we advise you to think very carefully about what you are giving up. Before you make a decision, please look at our ‘Opting out’ fact sheet that you can find in the Member Forms section.

You may also wish to consult an Independent Financial Advisor.

If you do decide to opt out you must complete the Opt Out form which is available in the Member Forms section.

If you do not have access to the Internet then the form is also available from the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). The forms must be returned to your employer.

If you decide to opt out your contributions will be repaid:

  • if you have less than 3 months qualifying service AND you do not already have a preserved award; or
  • if you have more than 3 months but less than 2 years qualifying service AND you do not already have a preserved award AND you do not opt to take a transfer out.

You may rejoin classic plus at any time, if you are still eligible to be a member by writing to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). You will be re-entered into classic plus from the next pay period.

There is more information in the ’Leaving early’ section about what happens to the pension benefits you may have built up if you choose to opt out now.

Please note: The Pensions Act 2011 requires all employers to automatically enrol most workers who are not currently in a qualifying pension scheme periodically (usually every three years), from the employer’s staging date. However, the Civil Service applies this to all workers. Your employer will be able to tell you what their staging date is. The opting out fact sheet will give you more information.

Switching schemes

You can switch to partnership, a defined contribution pension at any time. If you want to do this you will need to complete  a Pension Switch form and return it to your employer at least two months before the date you want to switch. You can find out more about partnership here.

15 December 2021
Last updated:
29 June 2022