To help people save more for their retirement, the government now requires employers to enrol their workers into a workplace pension scheme. This applies to those who aren’t already in one in respect of any of their employments and they:
- earn over £10,000 a year (or pro-rata per pay period);
- are aged 22 or over; and
- are under State Pension Age.
The workplace pension scheme we provide is the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The LGPS is a qualifying pension scheme, which means it meets or exceeds the government’s standards. The administering body for the LGPS is the Strathclyde Pension Fund.
If you are an existing member, we are required by law to inform you if a change in age or earnings has had an effect on your eligibility status. Earnings include basic pay as well as payments such as overtime. This does not affect your membership of the LGPS and no further action is necessary.
Strathclyde Pension Fund Office contacts
The contact details for the Strathclyde Pension Fund are as follows
Strathclyde Pension Fund Office
PO Box 27001
Tel: 0345 890 8999
A copy of the employees’ guide to the LGPS can be obtained from the above address. This provides full details of the benefits of belonging to the scheme.
What does this mean for you?
As your employer, we will contribute to the pension scheme on your behalf. We have a defined benefit pension scheme in relation to the employer’s contribution rate of your pensionable pay.
You will also contribute personally to the pension scheme. Your contributions to the LGPS will be deducted from the pensionable pay paid to you each pay period.
You will receive tax relief on those contributions, and on any extra contributions you choose to pay to the LGPS. Tax relief means some of your money that would have gone to the government as tax now goes into your pension instead. In the LGPS, tax relief is given under the net pay arrangements (in accordance with section 193 of the Finance Act 2004). This means you don’t need to do anything to get the tax relief paid into your pension. It will happen automatically. Information on how ‘net pay’ works can be found at: www.direct.gov.uk/workplacepensiontaxrelief
If I want to stay in the pension scheme
After being auto-enroled, if you want to stay in the pension scheme, you do not need to do anything. Your details will be forwarded to SPFO who will contact you directly with details of the Scheme.
If you want to opt out of the pension scheme
You have the right to opt out of the pension scheme during the ‘opt out period’ which is 3 months from the date you were enrolled into the LGPS. If you make a valid opt out in that period you will be treated as not having become an active member of the LGPS on this occasion and we will refund to you the contributions paid by you.
If you do not opt out within the ‘opt out period’ mentioned above, you will still be able to opt out of the LGPS at any time in the future and be entitled to whatever benefits are due under the rules of the LGPS.
Should you decide to opt out, the opt out form may be obtained from Strathclyde Pension Fund Office on 0345 890 8999 or at www.spfo.org.uk (within Members/Active Members/Leaving before retirement) and should be returned to Payroll and Pensions Team, Employee Service Centre, Dalziel Building, 4th Floor, Scott Street, Motherwell, ML1 1PA.
The opt out form would have to be signed by you. If you are in the LGPS in more than one post you will need to indicate the name of the post or posts from which you wish to opt out of membership of the LGPS.
If I opt out, can I re-join the pension scheme at a later date?
Yes. Should you decide at any time to opt out, you have the right to opt to rejoin the LGPS from the beginning of the next available pay period after electing to rejoin (subject, of course, to meeting the normal requirements for being eligible for membership of the scheme and being under age 75 at the time). To do so, contact the Payroll & Pensions Team, in writing by sending a letter, which has to be signed by you.
Your details will then be sent to Strathclyde Pension Fund Office who will contact you with further information.
If you decide at any time to opt out of membership of the LGPS you will automatically be re-enrolled into the scheme on what is called the “re-enrolment date” if, on that date, you meet the eligibility criteria at the top of this letter, unless you had opted out within 12 months prior to the “re-enrolment date”. The “re-enrolment date” is a date chosen by us and will be within a period of 3 months either side of every 3rd anniversary of 1 March 2013. We will contact you when this happens, and you can opt out if it’s still not right for you. Please remember to keep us informed of any change in your home address so that we can contact you when necessary.
A commitment from us
We must continue to maintain your membership of the LGPS (unless you personally choose to opt out of membership of the scheme or cease to be eligible for membership), and we must ensure the scheme continues to meet certain government standards.
If we were ever to cease to offer you membership of the scheme, or you cease to be eligible for membership of it whilst in our employment, or we change the scheme in such a way that it no longer meets the government standards, we would, if you are under age 75 and earn more than £6,032 (current figure) or pro-rata per pay period, immediately have to put you into another scheme that meets those government standards.
Where to go for further information
For further information on the Local Government Pension Scheme please visit www.spfo.org.uk
If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact SPFO (Strathclyde Pension Fund Office) on 0345 890 8999.
For more general information about pensions and saving for retirement please visit www.direct.gov.uk/workplacepensions.
Right of Appeal
If you are dissatisfied with any decision affecting you made in relation to the Local Government Pension Scheme you have a right of appeal against this decision under the Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure (IDRP). For further information on the Procedure, and to obtain an appeal form, please contact Employee Service Centre Help Desk on 01698 403151 or email ESC-HelpDeskTeam@northlan.gov.uk who will issue the appeals process to you.