Can I pay less? (50/50 option)

Orange in two halfs

Yes, it’s called the 50/50 section

When you join the scheme you will be placed in the main section of the scheme. However, once you are a member of the scheme you will be able to elect in writing or by completing the forms below, at any time, to move to the 50/50 section if you wish.

The 50/50 section gives you the ability to pay half your normal contributions (and build up half your normal pension). This flexibility may be useful during times of financial hardship as it allows you to remain in the scheme, building up valuable pension benefits, as an alternative to opting out of the scheme.

Here are the pay bands and contribution rates that apply from 1 April 2019.

Contribution Table 2019/20
If your actual pensionable pay is: You pay a contribution rate of:
  Main section 50/50 section
Up to £14,400 5.5% 2.75%
£14,401 to £22,500 5.8% 2.9%
£22,501 to £36,500 6.5% 3.25%
£36,501 to £46,200 6.8% 3.4%
£46,201 to £64,600 8.5% 4.25%
£64,601 to £91,500 9.9% 4.95%
£91,501 to £107,700 10.5% 5.25%
£107,701 to £161,500 11.4% 5.7%
£161,501 or more 12.5% 6.25%

A 50/50 option form is available from your employer. If you have more than one job in which you contribute to the scheme you would need to specify in which of the jobs you wish to be moved to the 50/50 section.

If you elect for 50/50 you would be moved to that section from the next available pay period. You would then start paying half your normal contributions and build up half your normal pension during the time you are in that section. When you make an election for the 50/50 section your employer must provide you with information on the effect this will have on your benefits in the scheme.

If you were to die in service whilst in the 50/50 section of the scheme the lump sum death grant and any survivor pensions would be worked out as if you were in the main section of the scheme. If you are awarded an ill-health pension which includes an amount of enhanced pension, the amount of enhanced pension added to your pension account is worked out as if you were in the main section of the scheme.

The 50/50 section is designed to be a short-term option for when times are tough financially. Because of this your employer is required to re-enrol you back into the main section of the scheme approximately three years from the date they first have to comply with the automatic enrolment provisions of the Pensions Act 2008 (and approximately every three years thereafter). If you wished to continue in the 50/50 section at that point you would need to make another election to remain in the 50/50 section.

There is no limit to the number of times you can elect to move between the main and the 50/50 section, and vice versa.


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