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The Pensions Act 2008 introduced new measures to encourage people to save for their retirement and introduced a new statutory duty on employers to assess their employees and workers and to enrol those employees and workers who satisfy specified criteria in a qualifying workplace pension scheme, this is known as ‘auto-enrolment’  The auto-enrolment provisions of the Pensions Act 2008 were rolled out over a number of years starting with the largest employers in October 2012 and the date from which employers were expected to comply is called the ‘staging date’.  The staging date for the University of Cambridge was 1 March 2013.

Once enrolled in the scheme the employee/worker has the option to opt out of the scheme.  However, employers are required to reassess any employees/workers who have opted out of the pension scheme every three years at the anniversary of their staging date.


Arrangements for Workers

This section covers those engaged through the University's Temporary Employment Service (TES), those engaged through the Cambridge Casual  Worker System (CCWS), those engaged as Playworkers, and any others engaged through a 'worker' agreement with the University.

You are classified by the auto-enrolment legislation as a worker and will be eligible for the University’s auto-enrolment pension scheme, the Universities and Colleges Retirement Savings Scheme (UCRSS), which is a master trust arrangement administered by Aviva on behalf of Mercer.

You can find out more information about this arrangement by viewing the member guide available at:

You will be able to access information about your retirement savings via a member portal, known as Mercer Money. The Mercer Money website is the first place for you to go to access information about your pension savings. As well as details of your account value and contributions paid in, there are tools, guides and other features to help you make the most of your pension savings. Once you are enrolled in the scheme you will receive information and details of how to activate your Mercer Money account and get started.

The University will postpone assessing you for membership of the UCRSS until the 12th week (or third month if you are paid monthly) of your employment and if at that point you meet the requirements for auto-enrolment (see table) you will automatically be enrolled in the UCRSS.  If you do not initially meet the requirements you will be assessed each pay period and if at any point you met the requirements you will be automatically enrolled in the UCRSS.

Once you have been enrolled in the UCRSS you will be contacted by Aviva with more information including information on how to opt out of the UCRSS.  You can find the member guide for the scheme at:

            and the investment guide at:          

If you are not eligible to be automatically enrolled, or wish to join in the postponement period described above, you are able to opt in to the scheme and you should follow the instructions given for opting in at:

If you are enrolled into the UCRSS (whether through auto enrolment or opting in) you will pay a contribution of 5% of your pensionable pay, a further contribution of 3% of your pensionable pay will be made by the University.


Automatic enrolment or opt in?


Qualifying Earnings

Eligible Jobholder


22 or over and under State Pension Age

More than £10,000 per annum (assessed each pay period)

Non-eligible Jobholder


Opt in


16 to 21 or State Pension Age to age 74

More than £5,772 per annum (assessed each pay period)

22 or over and under State Pension Age

More than £5,772 and less than £10,000 per annum (assessed each pay period)

Entitled Worker

Opt in

16 to 74

£5,772 per annum or less (assessed each pay period)


Arrangements for employees

If you hold a contract of employment with the University, except where this is a zero hours contract, you will be enrolled in the occupational pension scheme specified in the Terms and Conditions of your employment on appointment.

Shortly after you have been paid for the first time you will receive a welcome letter from the University’s Pensions Office giving you further information about the pension scheme you have been enrolled in including information on how you can opt out of the scheme.  Please note you will not be able to opt out until you have received this communication.

If you are employed solely on a zero hours contract then the University will postpone assessing you for enrolment in a pension scheme in the same way as described above.  If you wish to join the scheme before the end of the postponement period or are not eligible by virtue of you age or earnings then your can opt to join the relevant occupational pension scheme and should contact the Pension Office at: