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Auto Enrolment Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1.  What is auto enrolment?

Question 2.  What does this mean for you?

Question 3.  Is everyone being auto enrolled into a workplace pension?

Question 4.  If I'm working outside the UK or I've been seconded to the UK from overseas, does auto enrolment apply to me?

Question 5.  If I meet the criteria, when will I be auto enrolled?

Question 6.  If I’m not auto-enrolled, can I join a pension scheme?

Question 7.  Which pension scheme will I be auto enrolled into?

Question 8.  What is NEST?

Question 9.  Who will pay into the pension?

Question 10.  How much will I pay into NEST?

Question 11.  How do I opt out of the pension scheme?

Question 12. If I opt out, can I rejoin at a later date?

Question 13.  I am paying into a personal pension already, can I continue with this?

Question 14.  Am I not too young to start thinking about pensions?

Question 15.  Where can I find out more?

Question 16.  What information must employers provide to employees about automatic enrolment?

Question 17.  What will I get from my workplace pension when I retire?

Question 18.  What if I leave the University?

 

 

Question 1.  What is auto enrolment?

New legislation relating to workplace pensions requires that all employers automatically enrol specific groups of their workers into a pension scheme. For Cardiff University, the date from which we need to implement auto enrolment is 1 April 2013.

The effective date is determined by the size of an employer, with larger employers being required to start the process from October 2012. By 2017 all employers will be required to comply with the legislation.

Question 2.  What does this mean for you?

If you are already a member of one of the University’s pension schemes there will be no change for you as a result of auto enrolment.

The University’s pension schemes include the Cardiff University Pension Scheme (CUPF), the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the NHS pension scheme and the Local Government Pension scheme (LGPS).  Additionally a new pension scheme will be available from 1 April 2013 called the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

We will be writing to everyone personally during March/April 2013 with detailed information on how auto enrolment will affect you as an individual.

If you do not currently pay into a pension scheme the University will be required, by law, to automatically enrol you into a workplace pension if you are aged between 22 and State Pension Age (currently 65) and have earnings above the statutory minimum amount of £787 per month. If you are not automatically enrolled you will have the opportunity to join a scheme if you wish (see Question 6).

If you are auto- enrolled, you may opt out of the scheme in question, but every three years employers are required to re-enrol all eligible workers who, at that time, are not members of a qualifying scheme.

Please note that for those who have chosen, prior to April 2013, to opt out of membership of the CUPF, the University has decided to use the facility to defer the requirement to auto-enrol you into the CUPF to October 2017 instead of from 1 April 2013.  If you wish to re-join the CUPF before October 2017 you may do so - please contact the Pensions Section, Finance Department for further details (email to pensions@cardiff.ac.uk or 029 208 74397).

For those who have chosen, prior to April 2013, to opt out of membership of USS, the University is required to auto-enrol you into USS from 1 April 2013 (subject to the age and earnings criteria mentioned in question 3).  

Question 3.  Is everyone being auto enrolled into a workplace pension?

No. This depends on whether you meet certain criteria.  From 1 April 2013 you will be auto enrolled into a workplace pension if you:

  • are not already in a workplace scheme;
  • are aged 22 or over;
  • are under State Pension age (currently 65);
  • earn more than the statutory minimum amount of £787 per month; and  
  • work or usually work in the UK.

Question 4.  If I'm working outside the UK or I've been seconded to the UK from overseas, does auto enrolment apply to me?

If you're working outside the UK but are being paid by the University then auto enrolment does apply to you as you normally work in the UK.

If you're on secondment to the University from overseas and you're being paid by your overseas employer then auto enrolment does not apply to you as you don't normally work in the UK.

Question 5.  If I meet the criteria, when will I be auto enrolled?

If you meet the criteria in Question 3 then, with the exception of people who have opted out of the CUPF (see later in this section), you will be auto enrolled into a workplace pension scheme with effect from 1 April 2013.

Employers are permitted by the legislation to postpone the automatic enrolment date for up to 3 months. This allows for "spikes" in earnings for workers with variable earnings. We will be writing to everyone personally during March/April 2013 and we will let you know if this applies to you. You will however have the right to join a workplace pension scheme during the period of postponement if you want.

For those who have chosen, prior to April 2013, to opt out of membership of the CUPF, the University has decided to use a facility to defer to 2017 the requirement to auto-enrol you into the CUPF instead of from 1 April 2013.  If you wish to re-join the CUPF before October 2017 you may do so - please contact the Pensions section for further details (email to pensions@cardiff.ac.uk or 029 208 74397)

 

Question 6.  If I’m not auto-enrolled, can I join a pension scheme?

If you don’t meet the criteria for auto enrolment you can join a workplace pension scheme if you want. The pension scheme that you can choose to join will depend on which category of worker you are. This is detailed in Question 7.

To join, contact the Pensions Section in writing by sending a letter which has to be signed by you. Or you can email pensions@cardiff.ac.uk and you must include the wording "I confirm I am personally submitting this notice to join a workplace pension scheme".

If you meet the criteria at a later date, for example if you reach age 22 or your earnings increase, then you will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme. The University will contact you if this happens.

Question 7.  Which pension scheme will I be auto enrolled into?

That depends on which category of worker you are – please see below details of  which pension scheme the various categories of staff will be auto enrolled into or can choose to join if you don’t meet the criteria for auto enrolment.

Contracted employees with fixed hours in grades 1 to 4
New employees will be enrolled into the CUPF (CARE section).
Employees who have previously opted out of the CUPF will be auto-enrolled into the CUPF in October 2017 or can choose to join the CUPF at any time before then (see question 2 and 5 for further details)

Contracted employees with fixed hours in grades 5 and above
New employees will be enrolled into USS (CRB section).
Employees who have previously opted out of USS will be auto enrolled back into (USS CRB section) (see question 2 and 5)

Variable hours employees in grades 1 to 4
Employees who meet the criteria for auto-enrolment will be auto-enrolled into the CUPF (CARE section) following a 3 month postponement of the assessment of earnings (see question 5)

Variable hours employees in grades 5 and above
Employees who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into USS (CRB section) following a 3 month postponement of the assessment of earnings (see question 5).

Casual workers (paid via gold form)
Workers who meet the criteria for auto-enrolment will be auto-enrolled into NEST following a 3 month postponement of the assessment of earnings (see question 5).

Student demonstrators and Invigilators
Workers who meet the criteria for auto-enrolment will be auto-enrolled into NEST following a 3 month postponement of the assessment of earnings (see question 5).

External examiners
Workers who meet the criteria for auto-enrolment will be auto-enrolled into NEST following a 3 month postponement of the assessment of earnings (see question 5).

Information on NEST is given in Question 8.

Details of the CUPF (CARE section) can be found in the Member Booklet available on the Pensions web pages 
Details of USS and the benefit structure are available on the USS website .

Question 8.  What is NEST?

NEST – the National Employment Savings Trust - is a new pension scheme established by the Government to support the introduction of auto enrolment. NEST is a low cost pension scheme which attracts low charges and is portable. Once you are a member you can contribute to your pension regardless of employment status or employer within the UK.

More details on NEST can be found on the NEST website .

Question 9.  Who will pay into the pension?

You will pay into it. The University will pay into it. Plus the government will pay into it in the form of tax relief. This means some of your money that would have gone to the government as tax goes into your pension instead.

Question 10.  How much will I pay into NEST?

Both you and the University will pay a percentage of your earnings into the scheme. The University is going to increase the amounts being paid over the next few years in line with the Government’s minimum standards.

The contribution rates are as follows:

  • April 2013 - September 2017
    Your contribution (including the tax relief) =1% of earnings
    University's contribution = 1% of earnings
  •  

  • October 2017 - September 2018
    Your contribution (including the tax relief) =3% of earnings
    University's contribution = 2% of earnings
  •  

  • October 2018 onwards
    Your contribution (including the tax relief) =5% of earnings
    University's contribution = 3% of earnings

Question 11.  How do I opt out of the pension scheme?

If you wish to opt out of NEST you can do this online at www.nestpensions.org.uk .

If you wish to opt out of USS you can download a scheme opt out notice from http://www.uss.co.uk/SchemeGuide/Auto-enrolment/Pages/default.aspx  which you can complete and return to the Pensions Section in the Finance Department.

If you wish to opt out of the CUPF you can download a CUPF opt out form soon to be available from the Pensions web pages. The completed form should be returned to the Pensions Section in the Finance Department.

Question 12. If I opt out, can I rejoin at a later date?

Yes, you can rejoin the relevant workplace pension scheme at any time. To do so, contact the Pensions Section in the Finance Department in writing by sending a letter which has to be signed by you. Or you can e-mail pensions@cardiff.ac.uk and you must include the wording "I confirm I am personally submitting this notice to join a workplace pension scheme".

Question 13.  I am paying into a personal pension already, can I continue with this?

It is possible to have both a workplace pension and your own personal pension, so you could choose to continue paying into both.

Question 14.  Am I not too young to start thinking about pensions?

No. It may seem early to start planning for later life, but remember you could have many years of retirement and you will need an income. A workplace pension is one way to provide that income. Usually the longer you pay into a pension scheme the better the benefits will be.

Question 15.  Where can I find out more?

We will be writing to everyone personally during March /April 2013 with detailed information on how auto enrolment will affect you as an individual.

If you still have a question, you can e-mail: 

Auto Enrolment Queries

 

Further information is also available from:

Question 16.  What information must employers provide to employees about automatic enrolment?

One of the key employer duties under automatic enrolment is to provide certain information to workers.  All employers will have an obligation to provide specified information to their workers within prescribed time limits.  For example, employers must give information to eligible jobholders who are being automatically enrolled.  This information must include details of what automatic enrolment means for them, their right to opt out and opt back in and where they can find further information about pensions and savings for retirement.  Employers must provide this information by no later than one month after the eligible jobholder's automatic enrolment date. Those eligible jobholders who are already members of a qualifying pension scheme must be provided with information about that scheme within two months of their enrolment date.

Question 17.  What will I get from my workplace pension when I retire?

That depends.  If you are automatically enrolled into NEST or choose to opt into NEST the amount you receive when you retire will depend on the growth of your fund during your period of membership.

If you are in a grade 1-4 post or equivalent and you elect to join the CUPF (CARE section) you can find out more about the benefits that would be payable upon retirement by referring to the CUPF member booklet .

If you are in a grade 5 post or higher  and are auto-enrolled or choose to join USS you can find out more about the benefits payable from that scheme on the USS website .

Question 18.  What if I leave the University?

If you are contributing to NEST and your new employer also contributes to NEST you may simply continue to make contributions to your account.

If you are contributing to USS and your new employer is a USS employer you may simply continue to make contributions to that scheme.

If you are contributing to the CUPF your membership of the CUPF will cease on leaving the University. You will however have the right to transfer the value of the benefit you have built up in the CUPF to your new employer’s scheme should you wish.