Who is eligible?


Employers are eligible to apply to participate in the scheme if it is based in the United Kingdom and meets one of the following criteria:

  • is a university, or university college, or a higher education institution; or
  • any other body which is established for the purpose of higher education or research and not for profit; or
  • is a body which is majority owned, owned or governed by one or more existing USS institutions and which in the opinion of USS supports the primary objects of those institutions, whether or not the activities of the body constitute a trade or other commercial or investment activity.


USS is unable to admit any employee who carries out their day to day work in any EU country other than the United Kingdom, unless that person:

  • is seconded for a limited period (generally no more than five years);
  • was employed by the relevant employer in the United Kingdom prior to the commencement of the secondment;
  • will return from that secondment to work for the employer in the UK;
  • or will fully retire directly from that secondment.

Any person who would be a ‘qualifying person’ within the meaning of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Cross-Border Activities) Regulations 2005 is also not eligible for membership.

If any eligible employee retrospectively changes the location of their employment to an EU state other than the UK, and would not have met the criteria above at the date of change then they will cease to be an eligible employee and will leave the scheme with a leaving date of the day before the change in employment took place.

Application Procedure

If an eligible employer wishes to participate in the scheme, an appropriately authorised representative should complete the application form and post to:

Pensions policy team
Royal Liver Building
L3 1PY

Once an employer’s eligibility has been confirmed, the application will be forwarded for consideration at the next trustee board meeting. These meetings are generally held quarterly - please contact our Pensions policy team if you would like to know upcoming meeting dates. If the application to participate is accepted the trustee will arrange for a legal Deed of Accession to be drawn up to complete the process. This is normally within one month of the board meeting.

An employer cannot admit any eligible staff into USS until the deed has been agreed and signed on behalf of the employer and, if required, by the guarantor(s) to the application. The trustee will provide an employer with a date from which they are able to admit USS members.

If you have any specific questions about employer eligibility, please contact the Pensions policy team via pensionspolicy@uss.co.uk or on 0151 478 7119.

Last updated: about 4 years ago