• Absence & Leave

    • What happens if I am on sick leave?

      You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive. If you are on unpaid sick leave, you will not pay any contributions.

      But your pension is not affected by any absence due to sickness or injury, regardless of whether you are on paid or unpaid sick leave. This is because we calculate your pension using the pay you would have received had you not been absent, meaning you will build up a pension as if you were working normally.

      Anyone in 50/50 who goes onto unpaid sick leave, is automatically put back into the main section. This means your pension builds up at the full rate, rather than 50/50 rate. When you return to work, you can re-join 50/50

    • What happens if I am on maternity, adoption or paternity leave?

      You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive while you are on child-related leave.

      During paid leave, the pay you would have received if you were working is used to calculate your pension. Using this figure, you will continue to build up a pension as if you were working normally and ensures you do not lose out while on paid child related leave.

      Any unpaid period of child-related leave will not count towards your pension unless you elect to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy the pension lost during this time. Elect to pay APCs within 30 days of returning to work and the cost of the APC is split between you and your employer (you pay 1/3rd, your employer 2/3rds).  Otherwise, you will be responsible for the full cost. You can pay APCs monthly through your salary or as a one-off lump sum. To find out more and set up APCs use the APC calculator

      Anyone in 50/50 who goes onto unpaid sick leave, is automatically put back into the main section. This means your pension builds up at the full rate, rather than 50/50 rate. When you return to work, you can re-join 50/50.

    • What happens if I am on unpaid leave?

      If you are granted unpaid leave of absence, including jury duty, you may continue to pay contributions depending on the length of the break:

      • Less than 31 continuous days unpaid leave - contributions will be deducted automatically by your employer, based on the pay you would have received had you been at work. This means that you will not have any break in membership or lose out on your pension.
      • 31 days or more continuous unpaid leave - you will not build up any pension and it will not count towards your pension unless you pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs). Elect to pay APCs within 30 days of returning to work and the cost of the APC is split between you and your employer (you pay 1/3rd, your employer 2/3rds). Otherwise, you will be responsible for the full cost. APCs can be paid monthly through your salary or as a one-off lump sum. To set up APCs go to https://www.lgpsmember.org/scotlgps2015/apc/, select "Buy Lost Pension" and follow the steps.
    • What happens if I am on strike

      If you are off work because of a strike, you will not pay any pension contributions and your time off work will not count towards your pension unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions. The cost of purchasing the pension lost while on strike would be met fully by yourself. To set up APCs go to https://www.lgpsmember.org/scotlgps2015/apc/, select "Buy Lost Pension" and follow the steps.

    • What happens if I go on reserve forces leave?

      If you go on reserve forces leave and choose to remain a member of the LGPS, pension contributions are still payable. While on leave, your pension contributions are based on your Assumed Pensionable Pay. This is the pay you would have received had you been at work as normal and not on reserve forces leave. The Ministry of Defence is be responsible for deducting all employee and employer contributions.

  • Contributions & Costs

    • How much do I pay?

      How much you pay, is based on how much you earn. When you join the scheme and every April afterwards, your employer will compare your pay to the LGPS contribution rates set by the Government. These rates are reviewed each year to keep up with any changes in the cost of living. If at anytime your contribution rate changes, your employer will let you know.

      You can use our Costs and Contributions Calculator to see your contribution rate and monthly payments.

    • How much does my employer pay?

      This is one of the most common questions. Employer contributions don’t increase your pension, rather they help cover the cost of the pension scheme, including administration and pension payments. Each employer pays a different amount but generally employers cover 2/3rds of the cost while members pay 1/3rd. In a personal or private pension scheme, members would typically have to pay for all fees and contributions.

    • Can I increase how much I pay?

      There are two ways to pay more and to increase your pension:

      1. Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) – these are simple extra contributions that increase the amount of pension paid to you when you retire.
      2. Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) – these are extra contributions which are invested separately in funds managed by our AVC provider, Prudential. When you retire you have a number of options for how to use your AVCs.

      Find out more - Increasing Your Contributions.

    • Can I reduce how much I pay?

      Yes, with 50/50 you can pay half the contributions and in turn, build up half the pension. Plus you continue to receive full life and ill health cover. Around every 3 years, you would be brought back into the main section where you pay full contributions. This is because ideally we would like members to save as much as possible for their retirement. However you can choose to stay in 50/50 if you wish.  Learn more about 50/50.

  • Death of a Member

    • What happens if a member dies?

      In these circumstances, we should be contacted as soon as possible. When contacting us please provide the member’s full name, national insurance number, date of death and next of kin details.

      The sooner we are told, the quicker we can establish if any death benefits are payable and if so, start paying them. For members already receiving a pension, it is important we are notified quickly to avoid an overpayment of pension, which would need to be reclaimed.

      Once we have been notified of a death, we will contact the next of kin within ten days (if that is not the person who notified us). We may request relevant certificates such as birth certificates and marriage certificates as well as a Will, to establish if anyone is entitled to a death grant or survivor’s/children’s pension.

    • What will my family get in the event of my death?

      Depending on when you were an active member (i.e. paying into the fund) and the regulations in place at that time, we may pay a survivor’s pension to your:

      • Spouse,
      • Civil partner, or
      • Eligible cohabiting partner

      In addition:

      • A tax-free lump sum may be payable, and
      • A pension may also be paid to your eligible children.

      You should visit your member hub to find out more information about what your family is entitled to:

  • Joining the Pension Scheme

    • How do I join?

      Most are automatically enrolled into the Pension Scheme when they start their job. However if you were not auto-enrolled, or opted out and you wish to join, simply complete the PEN 1 – New Start form.

    • Why should I join?

      The LGPS is one of the best and easiest ways to plan for your future and has an excellent range of benefits.

      • secure pension underwritten by Government meaning your pension is guaranteed by law
      • You don't need to worry about making investment decisions. Your pension isn't based on the economy or investment returns, it simply builds up each year based on how much you earn  
      • Your employer pays in too, covering around 2/3rds of the cost of your pension
      • You will pay less tax, as your pay is taxed after your contributions have been deducted
      • Pensions are available for a spouse, civil partner or eligible co-habiting partner and any eligible children in the event of your death
      • Lump sum of 3 x salary should you die in service
      • Options to pay more or less, you can boost your pension by paying more or if you need to, you can reduce your contributions
      • Option to convert some of your pension for a tax free cash lump sum when you retire
      • A guaranteed income in retirement which is payable for life which also increases with the cost of living - so as the price of goods increases, so too does your pension
      • Options for early retirement from age 55 
      • Ill health retirement, if at any age you are unable to work due to ill health
      • Flexible and redundancy & efficiency retirements are available too
    • What is automatic enrolment?

      The government wants to encourage all workers to save for their retirement. To help people save more, they introduced auto-enrolment which meant all employers must automatically put their workers into a workplace pension if they:

      • Are age between 22 and State Pension Age
      • Earn more than £10,000 a year
      • Work in the UK

      If you do not meet the above criteria you are not auto-enrolled. However you can still join by completing a PEN1B – Opting in form.

    • I'm re-joining, what happens to my pension?

      If you are working for an employer who offers the LGPS, you can rejoin at any time. What happens to your previous benefits when you rejoin, depends on when you originally left:

      • Before 1 April 2015 -your new pension record, is kept separate from your deferred record unless you choose to join them together.
      • On or after 1 April 2015 – your new pension record is automatically joined to previous deferred record, unless you choose to keep them separate.

      In both cases, you have 12 months from re-joining to decide whether to keep your benefits separate or to join them.

  • Leaving & Opting Out

    • How do I opt out?

      If you want to leave, simply complete and return the Opt Out form to your employer.

    • What happens to my pension if I leave employment or opt out?

      If you have less than 2 years membership, and no other Local Government Pension benefits in Scotland, you can receive a refund of your contributions (minus tax) or transfer your pension benefits to another pension provider.

      If you have 2 or more years membership, or less than 2 years but have other LGPS benefits in Scotland, your pension benefits will remain in the LGPS until they can be paid, or you transfer them to another pension provider.

    • What if I choose to leave my pension with you?

      If you leave your pension with us, you will become a “Deferred Member.” Essentially your pension is on hold until it can be paid or you transfer them to another provider. 

      We will calculate the value of your pension at the date of leaving and while your pension remains with us, we will increase it in line with the cost of living each year. 

  • Tax

    • What is tax relief?

      When you pay into the LGPS, your pension contributions are taken off your pay before you pay tax. This way you pay less tax each month.

      However do remember, when you start receiving your pension, your pension will likely be taxed.

    • What is Annual Allowance?

      Annual Allowance is simply a limit on how much pension you can save in any one year before you pay a tax charge. The Annual Allowance limit for most members is £40,000 per year (higher earners, over £200,000 per year, may have a lower allowance).

      Annual Allowance covers all pension benefits you have, in any, and all pension schemes you have paid into over the financial year. Most members are not affected by the Annual Allowance but you can find out more on our Tax page.

    • What is Lifetime Allowance?

      Lifetime Allowance is the total value of all pension benefits you can have without triggering a tax charge. If the value of your pension benefits when you draw them is more than the Lifetime Allowance you will have to pay tax on the excess. The Lifetime Allowance for 2020/21 is £1,073,100.

      Lifetime Allowance includes all pension savings, from all Scheme or Pension plans you have contributed to.  Most members are not affected by the Lifetime Allowance but you can find out more on our Tax page.

  • Pension Payments & Tax

    • When are pensions paid?

      Your pension is paid into your account on the 15th of each month. If the 15th falls on a weekend, or on a bank holiday, it will be paid on the previous Friday or previous working day.

    • Will my pension increase?

      Pension increase each April in line with inflation. Not all pension members will receive the annual increase or receive the full increase. More information can be found on the Pensions Increase page.

    • Is my pension taxed?

      Your monthly pension payments are considered earned income and are taxed under Paye As You Earn, much like your salary at work. When you first retire, you will be taxed according to the tax code on your P45. This is until HMRC issue you a Notice of Coding shortly after you retire. The Pension Fund will notify HMRC of your retirement and you should receive an Income Return form from HMRC for completion.

      The Fund can only apply the tax code given to us by HMRC therefore any questions regarding tax or the tax code used should be directed to HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

  • Retirement

    • When can I retire?

      You can choose to take your pension anytime between age 55 – 75.  However if you choose to take your pension before your Normal Pension Age, your pension will likely be reduced due to early payment.

      The only way for your pension to be paid before your Normal Pension Age without a reduction is in cases of ill health retirement, retirement from age 60 with full Rule of 85 protection and in some cases of redundancy/business efficiency retirements (active members only).

    • What is Normal Pension Age?

      Your Normal Pension Age (NPA) is simply the age you can retire and receive your benefits in full.  Normal Pension Age depends on when you built up  pension benefits:

      • Before 1 April 2015: Normal Pension Age is 65
      • On or After 1 April 2015: Normal Pension Age is the same as your State Pension age (SPA), with a minimum age of 65 for those who have a State Pension Age younger than 65. For any benefits built up before 1 April 2015, your NPA will remain 65.

      If you take your benefits before your Normal Pension Age they will likely be reduced as they are being paid early. If you take your benefits later than your NPA, your benefits will increase.

      You cannot take your pre and post April 2015 benefit separately, they must be taken at the same time. So you may find depending on your NPA and what age you retire some benefits are reduced but others are not.

    • Why is my pension reduced if I take it early and by how much?

      As you are choosing to take your pension earlier than expected, your pension needs to stretch and be paid over a longer period of time. To ensure it can be paid over the entirety of your retirement, the amount you are paid each year is reduced to cover the additional years.

      How much your pension is reduced by depends on how many years early it is paid. Reduction rates are determined by the Government with the current rate available in the Retirement area.

      To get an idea of exactly how much your pension could be if you take it early, use the retirement calculators available on My Pension.

    • What is Rule of 85 and do I qualify for it?

      Rule of 85 is a way of calculating whether a member’s pension would be reduced if they took it early. Under Rule of 85, members whose age plus pension membership (in whole years) equals 85 may be able to retire and receive their pension in full without it being reduced for early retirement.

      There are various rules and conditions around Rule of 85 and taking your pension early. As such please see the Rule of 85 page for more details.

    • What other types of retirement are available?

      As well as early retirement or retirement at Normal Pension Age, there are other retirement packages available including flexible retirement, ill health retirement and retirement due to redundancy or business efficiency. For more information on retirement visit your members hub:

  • Transfers

    • Can I transfer in other pension benefits?

      You can only transfer in other pension benefits if they are from:

      • Other Local Government Pension Schemes
      • Members of the Public Sector Transfer Club e.g. NHS, Civil Service, Teachers pensions

      A full list of Club members is available on the Civil Service website.

      We cannot accept transfers from personal or private pension schemes.

      You have 12 months from joining to transfer in other pension benefits. To transfer benefits, complete and return the PEN 1.3 Previous Pension form.

    • Can I transfer my pension elsewhere?

      Yes, you can transfer your pension as long as:

      • Your new pension provider or scheme accepts LGPS pension benefits. You will need to speak to them to see if this is possible, and
      • Your transfer is made at least 12 months before your Normal Pension Age

      You should contact your new provider to see if they will accept the transfer. If they do, they will normally contact us directly to begin the process, however you should follow their transfer procedure as each company is different.

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