If no changes are made to the USS scheme in the current 2020 valuation, higher salary contribution rates will be imposed by the USS Trustee in line with the alternative Schedule of Contributions it has published.
These will kick in automatically from April 2022 (11% for members and 23.7% for employers, up from the current level of 9.8% for members and 21.4% for employers).
This increase would be the first step of a contributions escalator, that would continue in October and April of each year, potentially reaching as high as 18.8% for members and 38.2% for employers in 2025.
This would mean that from April 2022, employers and members could face paying much more for current pension benefits.
Such rises would price many more staff out of saving for their pension, missing out on the valuable employer contribution towards their retirement. From an employer perspective, these increases will lead to cuts in teaching, research, and jobs at many institutions as employers would be forced to move money from other budgets to pay the extraordinarily high pension costs, impacting staff and students.
Use the calculator below to see how your pay could be reduced from April 2022 if strike action blocks the reforms agreed by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC).
Please note: all figures are approximate and do not take tax into account which will differ according to each member’s individual circumstances. This online calculator on the Salary Calculator website can help you work out your take-home pay.
These figures assume that the additional covenant support employers have pledged remains in place. Without it, the member contributions could rise as high as 18.8%.
As part of an effort to keep contributions as close as possible to current levels, employers have pledged significant additional financial backing to the scheme to ensure defined (guaranteed) benefits can be provided to staff. You can read more in our press release from July 2021.
However, even with extra financial support from employers, members would still need to pay much higher contributions for current benefits. The prices the USS Trustee has set out for current benefits mean that changes to the scheme are needed to keep it affordable and sustainable.
Universities UK, the official representative of the 340 employers in the scheme, developed proposals for reform that have the full support of employers. You can read more in our document on how changes to the USS benefits affect scheme members [pdf].
The Joint Negotiating Committee, the official forum for making changes to the scheme, voted to adopt the employers’ proposed changes. A statutory 60-day consultation with scheme members will take place in November 2021, providing clear and detailed information about what this would mean in terms of contribution costs and benefits.
Important – any benefits built up by members to the date of any changes are safe and protected, and will not change.