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USS pension consultation responses

03 Mar 2020

Our University responds to requests from Universities UK

The University has recently responded to two requests from Universities UK (UUK) – the body which represents employers in USS – for our views on the recommendations in the Joint Expert Panel’s second report (JEP2) and aspects of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The USS Employers website has a helpful glossary of pensions terminology which colleagues might find useful when reading our responses. 

USS and the Joint Expert Panel’s second report

The JEP2 report was published in December 2019 and focuses on the actuarial valuation process in USS and makes specific recommendations.

UUK has been gathering the views of employers on the recommendations in JEP2, and to understand how these might be implemented for the 2020 valuation and in supporting the longer-term sustainability of USS.

UUK is dividing its consultation with employers into three phases.  The Phase One consultation closed on Friday, 28 February.  In common with previous consultations we are sharing our response with colleagues. Phase Two will run from March to May and Phase Three from June to July.

Contribution rate response to UUK

In February 2020, in relation to the current industrial dispute, all employers in USS were asked by UUK whether the contribution rate of 21.1% should remain and continue with the cost-sharing provisions in the scheme rules.  We have published this response to inform colleagues.

By way of context, the most recent changes to USS pensions are summarised below:

  • From 1 October 2019, the University’s contribution increased from 19.5% to 21.1% of salary, whilst members’ contributions increased from 8.8% to 9.6%.
  • Employers are paying 69% of the extra costs and staff 31%, as set out in the USS rules.
  • On a salary of £40,000 p.a., this increase of 0.8% will result in an increase of £18 per month after tax.
  • These changes are required legally by the USS Trustee and The Pensions Regulator to meet the cost of benefits.
  • The extra USS contributions will cost our University about £4.6m p.a.
  • Members will keep the same benefits; there will be no changes to benefits.

We have also established a website which provides more updates and information on the broader industrial dispute.

Karen Heaton

Director of Human Resources