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University of Leeds position on USS pension reform

While we recognise that the prospect of pension reform will naturally concern colleagues, we do believe that reform is necessary. 

It’s important for us to have a pension scheme which is valued, sustainable, stable, portable and fair:

  • Valued: so we can recruit, reward and retain very good people. 
  • Sustainable: so the scheme continues to be affordable and secure for individuals and employers.
  • Stable: so there’s confidence in the scheme.
  • Portable: so it helps colleagues move freely around the sector to develop their careers.
  • Fair: so the scheme considers and acts on behalf of all members, regardless of age or career stage.

We will share public information and links to other sources of information on this page as soon as possible and key information is also highlighted via the all staff eNews.

Member communications and documents are produced and provided by USS itself, although the University plays a role in distributing enewsletters and membership packs on behalf of USS to members and eligible staff.

USS Pension Developments sessions - presentation now available

The slide deck from the September and October 2019 sessions, that discussed the national pension developments and decisions about the USS pension scheme, is now available to download.

Your pension 

For information or if you have any specific questions relating to your pension scheme please contact the Pensions and Benefits team:

Phone 01133438823 (x38823) 


HR website


Visit USS website to find the answers to key questions about cost sharing, the law, the scheme rules, the timescales, and the cost.

2018 valuation: Why another valuation? Find out on the USS website 2018 valuation page.  

Joint Expert Panel and pension valuations

The JEP was set up to examine the valuation of USS and was tasked with agreeing key principles to underpin the future approach of the University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK (UUK) to the USS valuation. 

In September 2018, the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) published its report about the 2017 USS pension valuation. An executive summary and the full report are published on the JEP website.

The JEP published its second report in December 2019. The report makes a series of interlocking recommendations covering the governance of the scheme, the valuation methodology and the way forward. 

Alongside but separate to the JEP's review and first report, the USS trustee held a consultation with members and eligible employees about the proposals for implementing the cost sharing rule. This consultation closed on 2 November 2018. Visit the USS employers website to find out more about why these two processes had to run at the same time.  

What has happened so far

Below is a chronological history of the 2017 valuation process. You can also view USS's visual overview of 'The 2017 valuation story so far' (published 25 July 2018) 

Read previous updates - 2017 up to 22 November 2018 

  • 22 November: USS published an update about concluding the 2017 valuation and conducting another valuation as at 31 March 2018.
  • January 2019: USS issued UUK with updated Technical Provisions as part of the 2018 valuation. The 2017 valuation was finalised.
  • February 2019: JEP announced its second phase and called for submissions.
  • March 2019: UUK responded on the behalf of employers to the USS 2018 actuarial valuation consultation. You can access the University's submission to that consultation here.
  • May 2019: USS Trustee proposed three options for concluding the 2018 valuation. UUK published a statement summarising employers' indicative views about these options.
  • June 2019: UUK formally confirmed the views of employers on the three options presented by the USS Trustee for concluding the 2018 valuation. Employers indicated a preference for further exploration of ‘Option 3’.
  • 28 June 2019: USS provided further details about ‘Option 3’, including the ability of employers to exit the scheme, the taking on of new debt and the monitoring and reporting of existing debt. Universities UK (UUK) launched a consultation with USS employers over the additional conditions required by the USS Trustee to conclude the 2018 valuation.
  • July 2019: Following the consultation, it was announced that the majority of employers are willing to support the USS Trustee’s additional requirements on debt monitoring and employers exiting the scheme, to allow the 2018 valuation to be concluded in line with Option 3. If this is accepted by USS, it would maintain the current levels of benefit for scheme members until 2021, and also cap contributions for that period at a total contribution rate of 30.7% of salary – 21.1% for employers, and 9.6% for members. The proposals put forward by UUK on this basis are available online

USS Latest News

USS launches employer consultation about 2020 valuation

USS Trustee has launched its first formal consultation on the 2020 valuation (technical provisions).

USS update to members

USS has published a member update on the steps being taken for the pension scheme during these challenging conditions and how you can stay in touch and up to date.

UUK and UCEA issue joint letter to staff at universities impacted by strike action

The letter from Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) outlines the progress made to address concerns on pay, working conditions and pensions.

Message from the Vice-Chancellor: Industrial action related to pensions and pay

Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, has written to all staff about the prospect of another period of industrial action, due to commence on Thursday 20 February:

USS pension: update on joint talks on future of scheme

The fifth statement from the meeting of member and employer representatives to discuss the future of the USS has been published.

USS: first consultation on JEP second report and future actuarial valuations launched

Universities UK (UUK) has launched a consultation with employers on the Joint Expert Panel’s (JEP) second phase report and on the 2020, and future, actuarial valuations.

Browse USS Pension by date

Find out more

The University is committed to making information available to staff members when it can, including member updates and publications, and we will update this page as matters develop.

In the meantime, further information can be found online via the following links to the USS and UUK websites and through the monthly USS member eNewsletter, which is circulated to relevant staff at the University. 

Related links:

University of Leeds:

USS (runs the pension scheme):

UUK (represents employers):