University of Essex pension schemes

New staff 

The University automatically enters all new members of staff into the relevant pension scheme from your date of joining. The pension scheme you are entered into is detailed in your contract of employment and pension contributions will start to be made straight away.

Current staff

If you joined at grade 1-6 prior to 1 June 2014, you were enrolled in the Universities Superannuation Scheme USS). If you weren't eligible to join USS you may have been enrolled in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).


The University runs a salary optimising scheme (previously known as salary sacrifice) called “PensionsPlus” (.pdf). This is not a pension scheme in itself but an efficient way of paying into your existing pension scheme.

When you join PensionsPlus (.pdf) you agree to reduce your gross contractual salary by the value of your pension contributions. You don't pay your contributions directly. As your gross salary is lower, the amount that both you and the University pay in National Insurance (NI) contributions reduces. As your NI contributions decrease, your take-home pay increases.

All new members of staff are automatically entered into the PensionsPlus (.pdf) scheme unless the value of the salary sacrifice takes your pay under the National Minimum wage or out of paying National Insurance.

Where to find pension help

  • Get a State Retirement Pension forecast from the Pension Service (part of the Department for Work and Pensions).
  • DirectGov - state and workplace pensions, pension calculators and retirement.
  • Pensionwise is a new government website to help individuals understand more about pensions in general. This is a great place to start understanding pensions in general

Independent financial advice

If you feel that you need financial advice (to advise you what to do) you should find a financial adviser. Do make sure that you're clear about any costs or fees before proceeding.

Many advisers offer an initial 'no-obligation' consultation. You should take the opportunity to shop around to find one that suits you best before making a commitment. We recommend you choose an adviser who has the highest level of qualification, which is 'Chartered' status.


This website aims to summarise the provision of the pension schemes at the University of Essex. If there are any discrepancies the pension scheme rules override this information. The information on our website should be treated as general guidance only and not as definite financial/professional advice. Neither SAUL, USS nor University of Essex staff are registered to provide you with financial advice. They can provide information about the schemes and potential options only.

University of Essex Campus Services or Wivenhoe House Hotel Limited pension arrangements

As a new member of staff employed by University of Essex Campus Services or Wivenhoe House Hotel Limited, you will be enrolled into the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) pension scheme.

Please note if you have transferred to UECS, under TUPE arrangements, you will have retained your membership of either:

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Contact us
Rewards Team If you have any queries about your pension please email us.