Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Pensions

ONR offers the option of a competitive occupational pension scheme. From 1 April 2015 a new Civil Service pension scheme Alpha was introduced, Alpha is a Career Average pension scheme. This means the final pension is based on a percentage of pensionable earnings from each year of active membership. You will still have the option of joining a Partnership pension. You are encouraged to visit Civil Service Pensions for more information.

Alpha contributions and benefits

Contributions
  • Members contribute a percentage of their pensionable earnings
  • Members receive tax relief on contributions subject to HMRC limits
  • You pay a monthly contribution (ASLC) to the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation for each member. It is the equivalent of the employer's contribution to a funded scheme.
  • Members may buy added pension or contribute to a money-purchase top-up arrangement. They can buy amounts of extra pension either through regular payments or by lump sum.
  • Members can contribute toward an EPA pension account
Benefits
  • Not based on final salary
The pension builds up at 2.32% of pensionable earnings each scheme year. The pension will be adjusted in line with inflation every scheme year, and when it is in payment.
  • Members can exchange some of their pension for a tax-free lump sum on retirement. For each £1 of annual pension given up, the member will receive £12 of lump sum. There are restrictions on the total amount of the lump sum.
  • Ill-health retirement benefits
  • Lump sum death benefits
  • Family benefits for Members' dependants
  • Payments to unmarried partners are available, subject to qualifying conditions.
  • Members are not restricted by the earnings cap.
Membership New entrants and most rejoiners in post on or after 1 April 2015 are eligible to join alpha, depending on employee status.
Staff in post before 1 April 2015 may be able to join alpha but this is subject to several eligibility criteria.
See Section 4 for eligibility information.
Pension age and taking benefits The alpha pension Normal Pension Age (NPA) is the later of either the members State Pension age (SPA), or age 65. If a members SPA changes this will have an effect on the alpha NPA.
Members can draw on those benefits earlier, subject to an early payment (actuarial) reduction.
Members who do not retire at their NPA may continue to build up their pension in the normal way, subject to scheme limits. They will receive an age addition - an extra amount of pension - for each year or part year that they do not take their pension after pension age.
Members do not have to take their pension by age 75.
Switching from alpha to partnership and vice versa Members may switch from alpha to partnership. They have one opportunity to switch between schemes each year. They must switch either on 1 April or 1 October in any year.

Partnership contributions and benefits

The partnership pension account is a defined contribution (money purchase) arrangement. It is a stakeholder pension with employer contributions. Employer and employee contributions are put into an individual pension fund which belongs to the member and over the years this fund builds up. When the member comes to retire they can use their fund to buy a pension from a pension provider or take up to their full fund as a lump sum payment.

When an employee applies for partnership they choose a provider from a panel appointed by Cabinet Office, The Pension Schemes Executive with whom to invest their contributions. The current partnership providers are:

You can, at your discretion, set up similar arrangements with alternative providers if you recognise and are content to handle the significant administrative burden, especially for payroll, of dealing with more providers. You must report all cases to Cabinet Office, The Pension Schemes Executive.

Contributions:
  • The member decides how much they want to pay. They do not have to make any contributions.
  • Employer contributions are based on pay before tax. Employee contributions are taken from net pay but the pension provider claims back tax on employee's contributions which are then paid into their partnership account. You pay contributions as a percentage of the member's pensionable earnings. The percentage varies according to the member's age.
  • In addition to this you will match any contributions that the member makes, up to a maximum of 3% of pensionable earnings.
  • You also pay a mini ASLC (currently 0.8%) to pay for ill-health and death benefits.
Benefits: The benefits are not predictable in the way that alphanuvos, premium, classic and classic plus benefits are.
  • The amount of retirement income will depend on several things. They are:
  • the amount of money that both you and the member have contributed;
  • the investment returns on the contributions;
  • how they choose to claim their fund. They can select to buy an annuity, or take up to their full fund as a lump sum payment.
  • If they choose to buy an annuity, the annuity rate which is used to convert the fund into a monthly income when the member retires and the type of annuity they choose; and
  • If they choose (and the amount that they decide) to take as a lump sum.
  • The 2014 Budget introduced more flexibility into the ways a member can access their partnership benefits, including the option to take all their fund as a cash lump sum, and flexible draw down options. Members may have to transfer their fund to another scheme/provider to use some of the options available.
  • Lump sum ill-health retirement benefits;
  • Lump sum death benefits.
Membership: Currently available to eligible staff who joined on or after 1 October 2002.
From 1 October 2015, all alpha members can choose to switch to a partnership scheme even if they joined before 1 October 2002.
See Section 4 for eligibility
When benefits become payable: Members do not have to retire in order to take their benefits. They take their benefits from age 50 (age 55 from 2010).
Switching from partnership to alpha and vice versa Members who are eligible to join either partnership or alpha may switch between the two pension arrangements (irrespective of which one they choose to join first). They have one opportunity to switch between schemes each year. They must switch either on 1 April or 1 October in any year.
Switching from partnership to nuvos and vice versa Members who are eligible to join either partnership or nuvos may switch between the two pension arrangements (irrespective of which one they choose to join first). They have one opportunity to switch to partnership and they have one opportunity to switch back to nuvos from partnership. They must switch either on 1 April or 1 October in any year.
Switching from partnership to premium and vice versa Members who are eligible to join either partnership or premium may switch between the two pension arrangements (irrespective of which one they choose to join first). They have one opportunity to switch to partnership and they have one opportunity to switch back to premium from partnership. They must switch either on 1 April or 1 October in any year.