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Thinking of participating

A few things you need to know if you’re considering joining USS as an employer

Your role

As an employer offering a USS pension, you’ll play an integral part in building your employees’ pensions for their retirement.

Once you start participating, you’ll get access to the employer portal where you’ll be able to find lots of useful information.

We’ll also provide employer training through things like webinars and on-site visits. This is all to make sure you’re fully in-the-know, so you can give your employees accurate information.

In the first few months, we’ll also contact you to check things are running smoothly – and to make sure you’re happy with everything.

Your duty to your employees

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to contribute 14.5% of a member’s salary – and the member will put in 6.1%.

The amount you contribute may change over time. This is to make sure we’re able to pay out the benefits employees have built up. To find out more, see our valuation and funding.

Are you eligible?

For us to allow you to participate, you must be resident in the UK and one of the following:

  • A university, a university college or a higher education institution.
  • An organisation which has been established for higher education or research purposes – and be not for profit.
  • An organisation which is majority owned, owned or governed by one or more existing USS employers and which we believe follows the same principles as those employers – regardless of whether your organisation is for trade, commercial or investment activities.

You must also demonstrate that you’ll be able to contribute enough to USS so that we’ll be able to pay out the defined benefits that your employees build up, or secure a guarantor who’ll be able to do this instead.

Employer debt will apply to you

As soon as you start participating in USS, it’s important that you understand that you’ll be responsible for paying any employer debt that may be triggered if you leave the scheme.

Find out more about employer debt and what else is required from you as an employer in your employer debt responsibilities.

There are a few instances which may lead you to leave the scheme. To learn more about some of these scenarios, see change in circumstances.

You may need a guarantor

Following the introduction of employer debt, any non-university employers who participate in the scheme must provide a guarantor.

In most cases, this is likely to be the university you’re associated with. If you don’t have such an association, you’ll need to provide an alternative guarantor. We’ll look to see how financially secure your guarantor is before allowing you to start participating in the scheme.

You won’t be able to take contributions from your employees until you and your guarantor(s) have signed the Deed of Accession, meaning you agree to the Scheme Rules.

You can only contribute to USS

Under our exclusivity rule, once you start participating, you can only contribute to USS on behalf of your eligible employees and not to any other pension scheme.

Things we need to know

When you apply, we’ll need the following information from you:

  • Who you’ll consider to be a member (you can choose from all staff, academic and comparable staff (A&C) or employees who were already USS members before they started working for you).
  • How many of your employees will automatically be entered into USS when you join.
  • Your pension strategy and your commitment to the defined benefits scheme.
  • The name of your proposed guarantor and whether you’ve already spoken to them.
  • Financial information for you and any proposed guarantor.
  • Whether you’d like to use salary sacrifice. This means you’ll pay your employees’ contributions on their behalf and then reduce their pay by this amount.

How to join

To apply to participate, contact us at*.

We aim to get back to you within 10 working days.

*Please be aware this email address is to be used by employers only as we can't respond to any queries from members through this channel. If members want to get in touch with USS please do so through our contact us section.

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