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As the NHS Pension Scheme has moved away from being final salary linked to a career average revalued earnings (CARE) model, the Department of Health and Social Care has opened a consultation to explore simplifying the contribution tiers to “flatten” the model. Current tiers are weighted so that higher earners contribute proportionately more to access the benefits of the scheme.

There are four main areas covered by the government proposals:

  • Contributions are to be based on actual pensionable pay, rather than the current notional whole time equivalent pay (a system used to calculate a full-time equivalent salary for part-time workers). This will ensure part-time workers’ contributions are reflected more accurately and will see the amount they pay reduced. This change is proposed mainly due to the declining number of members with a final salary link.
  • Using fewer contribution tiers as feedback from stakeholders has indicated a desire for this. The tiers proposed have been designed to retain the 9.8% average member contribution needed to protect the affordability of the scheme.
  • Increasing the member contribution tiers with the annual pay awards under agenda for change. Under the current scheme annual salary increases, agreed centrally, can result in a member changing tiers and a net reduction in take-home pay. The proposal explores changing the tiers boundaries in response to the pay awards.
  • Phasing the proposed changes over a two year period to minimise impact on take-home pay, give members time to adjust and to ease the administrative burden on the scheme administrators.

Further information on the consultation can be found here:

The above consultation is open to individuals and organisations. UCEA will be formally responding to the consultation on behalf of the sector. As a member of the scheme you are welcome to respond directly, or alternatively if you wish to feed in your comments via the University, please send these to the Pensions Section at by close of Friday 10 December 2021. The Pensions Section will then pass comments received on to UCEA for consideration prior to submission of their response.

Please do not hesitate to contact Sian Miller from the School of Clinical Medicine HR Division ( the Pensions Section ( should you have any queries on any of the above.

Please note that the University HR and Pensions teams are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to give financial advice, and I would therefore take this opportunity to stress the importance of seeking independent advice regarding your own personal financial and pension related circumstances. Information on discounted rates the University is able to offer for independent financial advice can be found on the CAMBens webpages (under local discounts > Financial and Legal services).