Frequently Asked Questions

Auto Enrolment Links

  • Pension Auto Enrolment

Question 1. What is auto enrolment?

Legislation relating to workplace pensions requires that all employers automatically enrol specific groups of their workers into a pension scheme. For the University of Glasgow, the date from which we were required to implement auto enrolment was 1 April 2013.



Question 2. What does this mean for you?

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

The University’s pension schemes include the University of Glasgow Pension Scheme (UGPS), the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland), the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme, Strathclyde Pension Fund and the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

If you do not pay into a pension scheme the University is 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 £833 per month (2019/20 figure). 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.


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

No. This depends on whether you meet certain criteria.  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 £833 per month (2019/20 figure); and  
  • work or usually work in the UK.

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

If you're working outwith 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 you will be auto enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. We will e-mail or write to you with full details.

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 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.


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 the Finance Office in writing by sending a letter which has to be signed by you. Or you can e-mail finance-payroll-pensions@glasgow.ac.uk and you must include the wording "I confirm I am personally submitting this notice to join a workplace pension scheme".


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

That depends on which category of worker you are. The table below shows 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.

Category of WorkerWorkplace Pension Scheme
Contracted employees with fixed hours in grades 1 to 5
Fractional employees in grades 1 to 5

Prior to 1 April 2014 new employees were enrolled into UGPS

From 1 April 2014 new employees will be enrolled into NEST

Employees who have previously opted out of UGPS or NEST will be auto enrolled into NEST (see Question 8).

Contracted employees with fixed hours in grades 6 and above
Fractional employees in grades 6 and above
(except USS re-employed pensioners and flexible retirees)

New employees will be enrolled into USS

Employees who have previously opted out of USS will be auto enrolled back into USS

Zero hours employees in grades 1 to 5 Employees who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into NEST
Zero hours employees in grades 6 and above (except USS re-employed pensioners and flexible retirees) Employees who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into USS
USS re-employed pensioners and flexible retirees in grades 6 and above Employees who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into NEST
Casual workers in grades 1 to 5 Workers who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into NEST
Casual workers in grades 6 and above Workers who meet the criteria for auto enrolment will be auto enrolled into NEST

Information on NEST is given in Question 8.

Details of UGPS can be found in the Member Booklet:

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 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.

The Government will also pay into your NEST pension 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. For example, if you make a £100 contribution you only need to pay £80. NEST will reclaim the £20 basic rate tax relief from the Government, making the total contribution up to £100.

As the tax relief is paid in this way, contributions to NEST cannot be paid through Pensions Plus (for details see Pensions Plus).

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


Question 9. How much will I pay into NEST if I am auto enrolled?

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:

Date RangeYour contribution (including the tax relief)University's contribution
1 April 2013 - 5 April 2018 1% 1%
6 April 2018 - 5 April 2019 3% 2%
6 April 2019 onwards 5% 3%

Please note that these rates apply only if you have been auto enrolled or have chosen to join if you don't meet the criteria for auto enrolment.

Different rates apply if you are either a contacted employee with fixed hours in grades 1 to 5 and have been 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.


Question 10. 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 www.uss.co.uk which you can complete and return to the Pensions Section in the Finance Office.

If you wish to opt out of UGPS please contact the Pay & Pensions.


Question 11. 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 Office in writing by sending a letter which has to be signed by you. Or you can e-mail finance-payroll-pensions@glasgow.ac.uk and you must include the wording "I confirm I am personally submitting this notice to join a workplace pension scheme".


Question 12. 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 13. 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 14. Where can I find out more?

If you still have a question, you can e-mail finance-payroll-pensions@glasgow.ac.uk
Further information is also available from: