USS is now under attack

  • The employers want to end guaranteed pension benefits.
  • They say your final pension should depend on how your 'investments' perform and not on your contributions.
  • We say it's wrong to risk our members' futures.

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Pensionable salary

3 November 2005

Pensionable earnings can include performance-related pay, profit-related pay, lump-sum payments made as part of the remuneration package, and certain payments in kind, such as warden accommodation in some institutions.

Table: Pensionable salary


Teachers' Pension Scheme

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Full-time employees

In final salary section

Pension payable is calculated through reference to final 'average salary'. This is defined as the final year's salary or the best consecutive three years in the last ten years enhanced by price increases or the final year's salary, whichever is the greatest paid. If there has been a break in service then the individual may qualify for a hypothetical award, if the salary at the time of the break is higher than that at the time of retirement, then the service up to the break and the salary at the break enhanced by price increases will be paid.

Pensionable salary in the final salary sector is the higher of: the member's highest salary for any period of 12 complete months in the last three years; or the highest yearly average of the total salary of the member for any three consecutive years within the last 13 years. In the hybrid scheme, USS pensionable salary is up to £55k from 1 October 2016. Members who earn over this amount can set a voluntary cap on their own pensionable salary above £55k

Part-time employees

In final salary section

For regular part-time employees generally known as fractional lecturers, whose final average salary is the same as the full-time member of staff, the service build is slower. There are also irregular part-time employees, or hourly-paid staff, whose final average salary is found by averaging the full-time equivalent salary related to these periods of their service build.

As above, but divided by the part-time service fraction.

Full -time and part-time employees in  CRB or CARE

Members will have 1/57th of their earnings put into the pot annually and revalued by CPI +1.6% annually. Members are able to opt out in individual contracts should they wish.

Annually members will know how much pension they have.

Members will have 1/75th of their earnings put into the pot and revalued by CPI with caps. For every 1% of inflation their pension will be revalued by that up to 5% when it will only by 0.5% for every 1% of inflation up to a maximum of 10% After 1 October 2016 this will apply to earnings below £55k. Any earnings over will have the contributions of 8% from the employee and 12% from the employer placed into defined contributions funds of member's choice.

Further information

TPS: Retirement planning

Last updated: 4 April 2019