Joining a pension scheme for staff members in grades 1 to 5
How to join or opt-out of the Avon Pension Fund Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) if you're a member of staff in grades 1 to 5.
How to join
Pension contributions will automatically be deducted from your salary even if there is a delay in returning your pension membership form.
When you received your contract of employment from the University you would also have received an Avon Pension Fund Pack, which contains a guide to the scheme and the pension scheme membership form should be completed and returned to Human Resources with your contract acceptance.
What you need to provide
- National Insurance Number - if you don't have one, you can apply on the Government website
- Copy of your birth certificate - this should ideally be supplied when you return your contract acceptance
- Your home address - it is important to ensure that Human Resources are informed of your current home address
- Expression of wishes form - you are advised to refer to the section within your Pension Pack on Death Grants, complete the form and return it to us
Transferring previous pensions
If you contributed to an occupational or personal pension scheme before joining the Avon Pension Fund, you can ask for your accrued benefits to be transferred into the LGPS.
If you want to transfer your benefits, you must apply to do so within one year of joining the LGPS.
To transfer previous pension benefits, complete the transfer form and return to the Avon Pension Fund.
Do not assume the transfer has taken place until you have confirmation in writing from them.
It is the member’s responsibility to monitor the progress of any transfer request, however we will, at your request, be happy to liaise with the schemes on your behalf.
Transfers are normally completed within four to six months.
Increasing your pension benefits by paying Additional Regular Contributions (ARCs) to the Avon Pension Fund
This can be done in the following way:
- Additional Regular Contributions (ARCs) to buy extra LGPS pension
- Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) arranged through the LGPS (in-house AVCs)
- Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contributions (FSAVCs) to a scheme of your choice
- Contributions into a stakeholder or personal pension plan
You can combine any of these options.
For detailed information on how to increase your benefits download the 'Increasing your benefits' brochure.
Pension contributions will automatically be deducted from your pay when you start working at the university unless you 'opt-out'.
If you do not wish to join the scheme you must either return the opt-out form or inform us in writing.
Return the form with your contract to avoid deductions.
If you decide to withdraw within three months of joining the scheme you will receive a refund of your contributions, less deductions for tax and national insurance adjustments.
You cannot receive a refund of contributions after you have been in the pension scheme for three months or more.
Instead you will be entitled to preserved benefits within the scheme.
Rejoining after opting out
If you are employed at the University and are now interested in joining the scheme, even if you have opted out previously, you can still join.
You need to complete an application form and send it to us so we can process your membership.
Be aware, if you opt out for a second time and later change your mind, you may not be able to rejoin the scheme.