National Employment Savings Trust (NEST)

What is NEST?

NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) is a workplace pension scheme run by NEST Corporation. This is a public body that operates at arm's length from the Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Department for Work and Pensions.

How does NEST work?

NEST is a defined contribution pension scheme. This means that both you and the University pay a set amount into your pension. The Government also contributes in the form of tax relief. These payments are invested and the retirement pot which builds up is used to provide an income for you when you retire.

How much is paid into my pension?

You will pay in 4% of your earnings and this will be taken directly from your salary. The University will pay in an amount equal to 10% of your earnings and the Government, in the form of tax relief, will pay in an amount equal to 1% of your earnings.

Please note that these rates apply only if you are either a contacted employee with fixed hours in grades 1 to 5 and have been contractually enrolled in NEST, or you are a zero hours employee in grades 1 to 5 and have chosen to join NEST, in accordance with the terms of your contract of employment

Different rates apply if you have been auto enrolled or have chosen to join if you don't meet the criteria for auto enrolment. For information on auto enrolment please see here.

Can I transfer money from a previous pension scheme into NEST?

You can transfer into NEST at any time to bring your retirement savings together.

However NEST only accepts certain types of transfer payments. Details can be found here.

In addition, NEST has produced a downloadable information sheet detailing things to consider when moving your money into NEST.

Can I pay extra contributions?

Yes, you can pay extra contributions into your retirement pot and these can be taken directly from your salary. If you would like to do this, please complete a NEST Application to Pay Additional Contributions form and send it to Pay & Pensions at the address shown on the form.

Where is my money invested?

When NEST receives your pension contributions, the money is invested in one of the NEST retirement funds. Each of these funds is managed according to the life stage of the members in it. For example, if you’re five years from retirement your money is managed in a particular way, making sure it’s ready for you to take it out. If you’re 20 years from retirement your money is managed differently, focusing on growing it as much as possible.

NEST also offers a choice of funds for people with personal beliefs or preferences. For example, some people may feel strongly about fair trade, labour rights or the environmental impact of the companies they put money into. Others may want a way of putting money away that fits with Islamic principles.

Details of NEST's funds, including investment reports and performance information, can be found here.

How do I keep track of my retirement pot?

Once you’ve been enrolled into NEST you’ll receive a welcome pack in the post. The pack gives you all the information you need to understand how NEST works. Your welcome letter also contains your unique NEST ID and tells you how to switch on your online account.

You can use your online account to check the value of your retirement pot, change the fund your money is invested in or use the online pension calculator to find out what your pension could be at retirement.

Will I get an annual statement?

You’ll receive an annual statement from NEST after each tax year. You can expect to receive this between 1 April and 30 June. You’ll receive a copy in your online mailbox or by post if you’ve asked NEST to send all correspondence by paper.

Your annual statement will include a breakdown of contributions paid into your retirement pot in the previous tax year. This includes your own and the University's contributions as well as tax relief.

What happens if I leave the University?

If you change your job and your new employer uses NEST, they may enrol you into NEST again.

If you leave the University and your new employer doesn't use NEST, or if you become self-employed, your retirement pot will remain invested with NEST and you can continue to make contributions through your online account if you wish.

Alternatively you can transfer your money out of NEST into another pension scheme. Information on how to do this can be found here.

What happens when I retire?

NEST will assume your retirement date to be your State Pension age. However you can change your intended retirement date by logging into your online account at The earliest date you can select is your 55th birthday.

Six months before your retirement date NEST will send you a retirement pack with details of your options. These may include:

  • taking all of your pot as cash
  • using all of your pot to buy a retirement income
  • taking some as cash and using the rest to buy a retirement income
  • withdrawing your money in stages

Can I take my money out in stages?

The NEST Guided Retirement Fund is an option you can choose if you want to start taking money from your NEST pot. You can choose this option if you are aged between 60 and 70 and have at least £10,000 in your pot.

Full details are set out in the NEST Guided Retirement Fund Factsheet.

What happens if I die before I access my benefits?

If you die before taking your money out, you can choose who should receive the benefits of your retirement pot. If you'd like to add or change a beneficiary, you can do this by logging into your online account at

Where can I obtain further information?

Further information on NEST is available on their website at