To encourage more saving for retirement, the Government has introduced a requirement for employers to enrol employees (subject to certain age and earnings limits) into work place pension arrangements. This is commonly referred to as auto-enrolment. Aston University became subject to this requirement on 1 August 2013.
The University already enrols into USS the majority of its employees on grades 7 and above at commencement of employment or at the time they first meet the eligibility criteria for membership. This contractual enrolment into USS is part of the Terms and Conditions of employment.
Where the University has contractually enrolled you into USS the auto-enrolment requirement does not apply unless you opt out of membership of the Scheme. If you do opt out, you will immediately become subject to the auto-enrolment requirements. Generally, this will only affect you at the re-enrolment date (every three years from 1 August 2013). However, there may be individual circumstances when the University will be required to auto-enrol you ahead of the 3 year re-enrolment. Typically this will be because your earnings were below the auto-enrolment level whilst you were member of the Scheme but they have now gone above that level*. A notice will be sent to you if you are to be auto-enrolled and you will be able to opt out again should you wish to do so.
Further information on auto-enrolment can be found here.
* The earnings level for 2014/2015 is £833 per month. The assessment for auto-enrolment is carried out on actual pay received in the pay month. Therefore, if your employment commences towards the end of the month, your pay for that month may be below the auto-enrolment level, but go above the level for the next month. This can result in an individual being contractually enrolled at commencement of employment, opting out straightaway and then being auto-enrolled at the beginning of the following month. The Government has indicated that it intends to amend this particular part of the regulations with an intention of not requiring auto-enrolment where an individual has already opted out in the last 12 months.