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USS Pension

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has been going through a valuation process – a statutory assessment of a pension scheme’s financial health, carried out at least once every three years. Stemming from this process, Universities UK (UUK) on behalf of employers, has proposed some changes to the scheme which have now been accepted by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and the USS Trustee (which manages the scheme). These changes will apply to all currently active members, subject to consultation.

They mean that scheme members will continue to benefit from a good pension, while avoiding significant increases in their contributions from the current 9.6% to at least 13.6% of their salary next year, and possibly as high as 18.6%. Instead, from this month, member contributions increase by just 0.2%, to 9.8%, and employer contributions will increase by 0.3%, to 21.4% (more than two and half times the average contribution rate for FTSE 100 companies). 

According to figures published by the USS Trustee, the proposals would reduce the amount USS pension members receive in retirement by around 10 to 18% for most members (7 to 15% including state pension) – contrary to a figure of 35% reduction reported elsewhere. All benefits earned from contributions to date are safe and will not be affected. 

Resources to help you understand proposed scheme changes

The JNC decision also means that the defined benefit (DB) element of pensions will build up at a slower rate from 1 April 2022. Defined contribution benefits will be offered in respect of salary over £40,000 (currently £59,883.65). 

The proposals will be the subject of a 60-day consultation this autumn-winter on the scheme changes agreed by the JNC, with scheme members, eligible employees and employers.

A major review of the scheme’s governance is proposed, alongside exploring moves to a Conditional Indexation model, which pegs a part of annual pension provision to the performance of scheme funds. This would be done via a working group of members’ representatives, employers and USS.

Our principles 

To work for everyone involved, we believe the scheme should be: 

  • Fair: so it works for and is accessible to all potential members, regardless of age, background or career stage. 
  • Valued: so everyone sees and receives the benefit of it.  
  • Sustainable: so it continues to be affordable and secure for individuals and employers. 
  • Stable: so there’s confidence in it. 
  • Portable: so it helps colleagues move freely around the sector to develop their careers. 

Find out more

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

Member communications and documents are produced and provided by USS itself.

USS (runs the pension scheme)

  • USS.co.uk
  • USS 2020 valuation (this page hosts some video explanations, including ‘Valuations: how we protect the promises made to members’)

UCU (represents scheme members)

UUK (represents scheme employers)

Your pension

If you have any specific questions relating to your pension scheme please contact the Pensions and Benefits team

Please rest assured that any pension benefits you already have in the scheme, to the date of any further scheme change, are safe and secure. Discussions about the future of the scheme relate to pensions yet to be built up. 

USS Latest News

Ballot for industrial action

Email sent to all colleagues on Monday 18 October with a copy of the communication being issued to students, 'Ballot for industrial action – your questions answered'.

Message from the Vice-Chancellor | Ballot for industrial action

Read the all staff email from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, sent to all colleagues on Monday 18 October.

Universities UK response to UCU strike ballots

Universities UK has issued a response to UCU strike ballots: ‘students do not deserve further disruption’

USS members priced out of pension savings without changes to the scheme

A new contributions calculator shows how much more USS pension scheme members will be paying each month if employer-backed reforms are blocked by union strike action.

Video | Proposed changes to USS pension scheme

Check out these tools and videos to help you understand the proposed changes to the scheme.

USS pension: recent developments

Subject to the necessary consultation exercises, the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and USS Trustee have accepted the employers’ proposal for scheme changes.

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