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Employees Joining the Scheme
If you have a new member of staff who is eligible to join the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme you should automatically begin to deduct contributions from their salary. Current contribution rates for the Scottish Teachers' Pension Scheme 2015 and the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme are shown in the table below.
Actual pensionable pay for the eligible employment for 2019/2020
Contribution percentage rate
Up to and including £27,697
£27,698 to £37,284
£37,285 to £44,209
£44,210 to £58,590
£58,591 to £79,895
You should inform the SPPA immediately that this person has commenced their employment with you by completing an STPS01 form via EDM should be completed. The details provided on this form will be used to create a record for the member.
Any person who has commenced employment having recently graduated should have been assigned a unique reference number by the General Teaching Council (GTC) when they registered with them. This number is also used as their Superannuation Number. If your new employee is not registered with the GTC, for example, if they are a lecturer in a University or have moved from working in industry to lecture in a college, they will not have a GTC number and will be assigned a Special Inclusion Number by SPPA which will become their Superannuation Number. In these circumstances, SPPA will inform you and the new member of their Superannuation Number.
On appointment employers must provide all new staff with the following information in their appointment letter:
INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR OCCUPATIONAL PENSION SCHEME
On 1 April 2015 a new Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme (Teachers’ 2015) was introduced. If you are joining Teachers’ 2015 for the first time, or if you re-joined the scheme after a break of five years or more, you will be in the 2015 scheme. Your normal pension age (NPA) will be equal to your state pension age (SPA). You can find out more about your SPA at www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension
OPTIONS AVAILABLE & IMPORTANT TIMESCALES
TRANSFERRING PENSION BENEFITS INTO THE TEACHERS’ 2015
If you have previous membership in any other UK Public Service Pension Scheme you may be entitled to retain a lower NPA. This is subject to your age, and the length of break between leaving your old scheme and joining the Teachers’ 2015.
If you are interested in transferring previous pension rights into the scheme you should contact the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA). Please note that transfer applications will only be accepted within 12 months from the date you joined the scheme, and before your NPA. Any delay in applying for a transfer could impact upon the value of your transfer.
INCREASING PENSION BENEFITS
Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out (ERRBO) - Members of the Teachers’ 2015 pension scheme can pay additional contributions in order to secure an earlier retirement age. You must apply for this within 6 months of joining the 2015 scheme.
Faster Accrual – you will earn a pension at a rate of 1/57 of your pensionable pay in each year. Subject to certain conditions, you can elect to earn pension at a faster rate than this by paying extra monthly contributions. You can choose from three rates depending on your budget and how quickly you would like your pension to grow:
You must select this option in the financial year before the financial year you wish it to be effective from. For new entrants, you must make your election within one month of joining the scheme.
SPPA have added calculators, application forms and information about the rules and restrictions applicable to increasing pension benefits on their website. www.pensions.gov.scot
CONTACT DETAILS : Scottish Public Pensions Agency, 7 Tweedside Park, Tweedbank, Galashiels, TD1 3TE
You should also enclose a copy of the leaflet Teachers new starter factsheet. This provides the member with the benefits of the scheme and allows them to make an informed decision about continuing their membership.
Most teachers will be eligible to join the scheme and no medical examination is required. Employees are automatically brought into the scheme on commencing employment. Form OPT OUT must be completed if the employee does not wish to be a member. This is known as 'opting out'. A member may opt out of the scheme at any time.
Teachers can join/re join and contribute from age 16 until age 75.
There is no minimum number of hours that can be pensionable in the STSS or STPS.
The maximum number of hours that can be pensionable in the STSS are the normal full time hours relevant to the post.
If an employee works less than the normal whole time hours for the post, any additional hours worked, between the contracted hours worked and the normal full time hours for the post, are pensionable. Overtime payments for hours worked in excess of whole time hours are non pensionable within the STSS however they are within the STPS.
Where there is no acknowledged whole time hours figure for the post, it is assumed that 37 hours per week are pensionable.
If an employee has 2 or more jobs, which together will exceed whole time, the excess posts or hours should be made non pensionable according to the following rules:
- the part-time post with the highest hourly rate takes priority
- posts with identical hourly rates should be controlled to ensure they do not exceed the whole time equivalent hours.
Employees who Re Join the Scheme
An application in writing should be made to the employer where a member who has opted out of the scheme, or who previously chose not to join, now applies to join or re join the scheme.
The application should be accepted at any time before retirement unless the applicant is absent for any reason.
SPPA will advise if there is any doubt about an employee's right to re join the scheme.
As of 2013 the Teachers Pension Scheme has taken up a process of auto enrolment into the scheme. Employers must automatically enrol qualifying workers in to a qualifying pension scheme within 3 months of them taking up employment.
Workers will have the option to opt out if they do not wish to be in the scheme.
Employers must re-enrol jobholders every 3 years who have previously opted out, if the member is still working for the same employer after 3 years.
Form STPS01S1 should be completed by the employer with details of each new member and sent to SPPA via EDM to set up an individual record of membership.
SPPA will enter the member into the relevant section of the scheme i.e. NPA 60, NPA 65, or Teachers 2015 dependant on whether the member is new to the scheme or has previous membership.
The personal reference "GTC number" will remain as the member's superannuation reference number throughout all current and subsequent STSS and STPS employments in Scotland and should be quoted on all correspondence and notifications thereafter.
If the number is not known, or has not been notified, the full surname, forename(s), date of birth, pay reference number and National Insurance number must be given in any enquiry or correspondence with SPPA.
Transferring Pension Rights in to STSS
The starter letter and members guide advises employees that it may be possible to transfer previous pension scheme rights in to the STSS. All transfers are subject to time limits.
The check list provided with the starter letter provides space for members to ask SPPA for a transfer pack.
Re Joining After Retirement
Former scheme members who have received their STSS retirement benefits can re join the scheme, providing they are under age 75 and have not accrued the maximum service of 45 years.
Working After Retirement
SPPA must be notified immediately when a member becomes re-employed.
In line with other public sector pension schemes, members who are re-employed after taking their pension benefits must have a break of at least one calendar day between ceasing membership of the scheme and becoming entitled to receive pension benefits, as there must be evidence of clear intention on the part of the member to retire.
SPPA should also be notified immediately when any teacher or pensioner changes their employer within an employing authority. All re-employment after 1st October 2001 is pensionable unless the teacher opts out of the STSS.
Members who have been in receipt of a pension should be reminded about their responsibility to notify SPPA when taking up re-employment in any capacity (whether superannuable or non superannuable). Failure to notify SPPA may mean that pension benefits are overpaid. Any overpayment would be recovered from the pensioner.
Earnings from re-employed service are assessed annually at the end of each financial year (31 March). During any period of re-employment, a teacher's pension may be partially or fully abated, by the amount by which their pension (including any compensation payment or other UK teacher's pension) plus their re-employment salary exceeds their salary of reference.
Salary of Reference
The salary of reference is the pensionable salary used in the calculation of retirement benefits. Where applicable pension increase (PI) is applied.
Premature Retirement Compensation
If a members' pension requires to be abated and they are in receipt of a pension payable by the employer under the Teachers' (Compensation for Premature Retirement) (Scotland) Regulations 1980 (as amended), SPPA will notify the employer of the amount by which their compensation should be abated. The compensation element of pension is always reduced before any reduction is made in the member's pension. In most cases, SPPA will not be aware of what is being paid by employers by way of compensation, therefore, employers should provide SPPA with the details as and when re-employment occurs.
Abatement of an Ill Health Pension
Where a member in receipt of an ill health pension becomes re-employed as a qualifying teacher, it will be necessary for SPPA to establish whether or not the member remains incapacitated. Pensions may have to be cessated or members may be subject to earnings limits.
It is important to notify SPPA of any re-employed qualifying teachers who are in receipt of incapacity pensions and are under the age of 60.
Buying Additional Scheme Benefits
The starter letter advises members that it may be possible to purchase Additional Pension benefits from the STSS. Further information regarding opportunities to purchase Additional Pension can be found here.