Auto-Enrolment FAQ

What is auto-enrolment?

To encourage saving for retirement, the Government has introduced rules that require the University to automatically enrol you into a workplace pension scheme if you meet certain conditions.

What does this mean for you?

If you are already a member of a University scheme (e.g. USS, OSPS, NHSPS), auto-enrolment does not affect you while you remain an active member. All new employees will continue to be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme. Anyone who is eligible and who is not contributing to a pension scheme will be automatically enrolled, unless they had previously opted out. 

To be eligible for automatic enrolment, an individual needs to meet the following criteria:

  • they are not in a qualifying pension scheme;
  • they earn more than £10,000 p.a. from April 2019;
  • they are aged 22 and over but are under state pension age;
  • they work or usually work in the United Kingdom.

What happens if you don’t want to be in a pension scheme?

You can decide if you want to remain in the pension scheme once you have been automatically enrolled. Although the law requires you to opt out within one calendar month of being automatically enrolled in order to receive a full refund of your contributions, USS  does so if opting out within three months of enrolment. An exception to this may apply to individuals who already have two years scheme membership. if you choose to opt out, you will be re-enrolled every three years.

How do you opt out?

If you don’t want to be in the pension scheme, you can opt out by following the instructions on the joining letter that you will receive from the scheme; or

Following the instructions on the relevant scheme’s website:


If you are on an academic or academic-related pay scale, you are automatically a member of USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme).

For further information on the USS Pension Scheme, please refer to the USS website.


If you are on a pay scale other than academic or academic-related (e.g. clerical and library; ancillary, parks and gardens;) you are automatically a member of OSPS (University of Oxford Staff Pension Scheme).

For further information on the OSPS Pension Scheme please refer to the OSPS Joining page.


If you are a worker/non-employee who has a contract personally to work for and provide services to the University, you are automatically a member of NEST (National Employment Savings Trust). For further information on NEST please refer to  the NEST.

Who can you ask if you have a question?

If you have any questions you can contact the appropriate team in the Pensions Office.

I’m not a University employee. Will I be affected?

As well as employees of all types the auto-enrolment duties also cover short-term casual staff, casual or irregular teachers, personal services consultants, invigilators and examiners. 

The duties do not apply to anyone working for another employer e.g. agency workers, contract service workers, inward secondees and self-employed contractors.

Auto-enrolment also applies to colleges.

Further information

Further information on the specific University pension schemes may be obtained from: