Pensions

Information on Pensions for Local Government Pension Scheme and Teachers' Pensions

Oxfordshire County Council is the administering authority for the Oxfordshire Pension Fund.

Over 50 employers and their staff contribute to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The county council is responsible for maintaining, administering and paying out all benefits from the pension fund.

The Teachers' Pensions Scheme (TPS) is a contributory scheme administered by Teachers' Pensions (TP) on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Oxfordshire County council makes a substantial contribution towards the cost of your pension.

More information

Please visit the following websites for further information with regards to pensions including forms to complete:

Teachers' Pensions

Oxfordshire County Council LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme)

Frequently asked questions - LGPS

How will my contribution rate be assessed?

From 1 April 2014 the county council will base your LGPS contribution each pay period on your annual salary plus any pensionable allowances made in the previous 12 months. Contribution rates can be found in the Pay Policy Statement (pdf format, 62Kb).

How will I know what allowances are pensionable?

All allowances you pay pension contributions on will be used in the assessment. Examples of these are all overtime and additional hours for part-timers, stand-by payments, shift allowance, sleep-ins,  honoraria. Overtime is also pensionable.

What do I need to do if I think my contribution rate has been assessed incorrectly?

Contact the HR advice desk. The team will check that your contribution rate has been assessed in accordance with the council's Pensions Policy Statement.

What if I am part-time or term-time only?

The contribution rate will be linked your annual pro rata salary plus the actual pensionable allowances you received in the previous financial year.

I have more than one job with the council - how will this affect me?

Whilst you will be contractually enrolled into the LGPS for all employments (providing the contract is for three months or more) membership is not compulsory. The contribution rate for each separate job will be assessed individually. You may end up paying a different contribution rate for each of your jobs.

What is the 50/50 option?

The 50/50 option allows someone to pay half the contributions for half the benefits.  A member can opt back into the main scheme at any time.  Where someone has chosen the 50/50 option they will be automatically put back into the main scheme at the Council’s auto enrolment date and will need to opt for the 50/50 option again if they want to continue in this way. The 50/50 option form and the form to opt back in to the main LGPS scheme can be found under HR forms

How are my benefits calculated if I have membership in the scheme before 1 April 2014?

Any benefits built up in the LGPS to 1 April 2014 will be calculated at 1/80th pension plus 3/80ths lump sum up until 1 April 2008 and 1/60th from 1 April 2008 until 1 April 2014 based on ‘final pay’ when you eventually leave for each year of membership in the scheme. If you are rejoining the LGPS now, but have had a break for more than 5 years away from public sector pension scheme membership, you may need additional information and guidance from Pension Services when considering a transfer.

Will I receive a lump sum payment as part of my pension?

You will be entitled to a lump sum payment on any benefits relating to your membership of the LGPS up to and including 31 March 2008. You will also have the option to exchange £1 of your pension to £12 lump sum up to a maximum tax free lump sum. There are limits to the amount of your pension you can convert in this way when you retire.

I hope to work beyond my normal pension age. What will happen to my pension?

You will still pay pension contributions while you continue working until you decide to retire. Any benefits once you do retire will be actuarially increased to reflect the fact that they are being paid after the normal pension age, and you will continue to build up additional pension up until you retire. All pension benefits must be in payment before age 75.

I have been issued with a pensions protection certificate valid for 10 years after my job was down graded - is this still valid?

Your certificate will be valid under those protected terms in the new scheme.

What is the earliest date I can receive my pension?

Your normal retirement date is the same as your state retirement age, but not less than age 65. Any member, who has been in the LGPS for at least 2 years, is aged at least 55 and who is made redundant or who retires on efficiency grounds will be entitled to receive immediate unreduced pension benefits.

Members who retire voluntarily and request pension payment before their state retirement age are likely to receive reduced benefits, although some members will have protections secured under previous LGPS regulations.

If you are planning to retire and draw your pension you must give Pension Services at least 3 months notice.

What happens if I am retired on permanent ill-health grounds?

For a member with at least 2 years qualifying in the LGPS, a three tier system is being operated. The level and duration of pension will depend on whether the employer, having considered medical opinion, believes that the employee is unable to do their current job to their normal pension age, and what the likelihood is of being able to work before this date, or is likely to find work within three years.

What will happen to my pension if I retire through flexible retirement?

Members aged 55 and over, having at least two qualifying years in the LGPS, will be permitted to retire flexibly subject to the council's Retirement Policy and the council's consent, and will be able to draw all of their benefits. Although you will continue in the council's employment this will allow your pension to be brought into payment. You can continue to pay into the scheme and earn additional benefits.  See Flexible retirement information.

What benefits will my family receive if I die after retirement?

If you die after retirement and before age 75 the lump sum paid on your death will be 10 times pension less pension already paid. Survivor benefits will be payable for life to eligible partners. Pension Services will seek to establish entitlement before releasing any payment.

I am living with my partner but we are not married or in a civil partnership. Will they get a pension if I die?

A co habiting partner may have an entitlement to a pension: if active membership of the LGPS was sometime between 1 April 2008 but ceased before 1 April 2014, there must be a valid nomination form on the pension record. Where there is active membership from April 2014 entitlement will be investigated following the member’s death. A valid nomination form held on the record may help establish the entitlement Further information and a nomination form (pdf format, 202 Kb).

I have had a period of unpaid absence, will this affect my pension?

Yes. However, when you return from unpaid leave, you have the opportunity to buy back the pension you lost during the period you received no pay. Read further information (pdf format, 272Kb).

Contact details

After visiting the relevant website above please raise any queries in the first instance (for both pension schemes) with the IBC, selecting the ‘Pensions’ option.

If you have further queries please contact:

For Teachers pension queries: John Vallis, 01865 815770 or email john.vallis@oxfordshire.gov.uk

For LGPS pension queries email pension.services@oxfordshire.gov.uk