University of Surrey launches salary sacrifice for defined benefit pension

The University of Surrey has launched a salary-sacrifice arrangement for members of its defined benefit University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension. So far, 93% of members have opted to make their pension contributions via salary sacrifice.

The university operates a local government defined benefit pension scheme as well as the USS. All employees above a certain grade are auto-enrolled into the USS and defaulted into the salary sacrifice arrangement.

Employees in the USS contribute 6.35% of salary into their pension. The salary sacrifice option allows them to save tax and national insurance (NI) contributions, but they are permitted to opt out.

Alan Behagg, human resources director at the University of Surrey, said: “Salary [sacrifice] is an efficient way to deliver savings to employees and the university by reducing NI contributions. The savings will help contribute to the improvement of the university for the benefit of all.”

The salary sacrifice scheme, branded PensionPlus, was communicated to employees via personalised statements that included information about how salary sacrifice operates, as well as various scenarios illustrating the impact it would have on employees.

The scheme was promoted using emails and road shows, and a telephone helpdesk has been set up to answer staff queries.

The initiative was implemented and communicated in association with Benefex.

David Woods