Opting out

This page contains information for members who joined before 1 October 2017 on opting out of OSPS.

Before deciding to opt out you should bear in mind that you would be giving up valuable benefits plus a significant contribution from your employer. Remember that your employer can refuse to let you join again if you opt out.

Here are some common reasons for opting out. Please read them before deciding to opt out in case you wish to reconsider.

It's too expensive

Remember that if you are in the scheme you pay less tax. The real cost can be about two-thirds of the cost you see on your payslip.

Consider changing to the lower cost plan. You can do this if you are a new starter on form APP5. If not, you can change your cost plan from 1 April by completing form APP6 before the end of March.

Please use the OSPS Calculator (45kb) to see how much it really costs you to be in the scheme.

I already have a personal pension scheme or SIPP

You can pay into more than one pension scheme at the same time.

If you are paying into a personal pension then your employer is not paying any money into it. However, if you contribute to OSPS the employer contributes a significant amount as well.

When you leave you should be able to transfer your OSPS benefits to your personal pension. A year’s membership at £20,000 per annum salary could generate a transfer value of around £5,000 (actual figure will depend on age and market factors).

I only have short-term contract

Even if you are in the scheme for a short time you will build up benefits in the scheme. If you cannot keep them in OSPS you should be able to transfer them to a new employer’s scheme or a personal pension. If you opt out you are giving up the benefit of your employer’s contribution towards your retirement.

I'm not going to stay in the UK afrer I leave the University

If you are in OSPS long enough to keep the benefits with us then you can either transfer them to a pension scheme abroad (subject to some restrictions from HMRC) or we can pay you the pension to you in the country in which you are living. In many cases we can pay the pension into your account in that country.

Other considerations

If you opt out you are giving up:

  • Inflation-linked pension for life.
  • Significant employer contributions.
  • Ill health cover if you can no longer work.
  • Death benefits for your family.
  • Depending on your employer, you may loose the opportunity to join the scheme again.

Opt out forms

If you still wish to opt out, you will need to complete one of these opt out forms:

  • OPT1U – if you work for the University and have been in the scheme for less than three months.
  • OPT1A – if you work for one of the colleges and have been in the scheme for less than three months.
  • OPT2 – if you have been in the scheme for more than three months.

If you work for the University please send the form to the Pensions Office. If you work for a college send the form to your college Accounts Office.

Please note that if you have been in the scheme for more than three months you have to give 28 day's notice. You will leave the scheme at the end of the pay period in which that 28 day's notice expires.