The LGPS understands that during times of financial hardship, you may want to reduce your pension contributions. The 50/50 section offers the flexibility needed to support you during these times.
The 50/50 scheme is designed to help members remain in the pension scheme, paying half the normal contribution rates of the main scheme. Therefore, your pension accrual rate will be 1/98th instead of 1/49th.
However, you will still build up valuable pensions benefits, retaining full life and ill-health cover and full survivor benefits in the event of your death.
Moving to the 50/50 section
The LGPS is split into two sections: The main section and the 50/50 section.
You can elect to move from the main section to the 50/50 section at any time. Whilst you are in the 50/50 section you also have the right to choose to move back to the main section of the scheme, with an election to your employer.
There’s no limit on the number times you can opt between the 50/50 and main 100% sections.
Once your employer has received your signed election, you will be moved to the 50/50 section from the next available pay period. If you move back to the main section at any point, this will also happen from the next pay period.
If you have decided to join the 50/50 section, in some circumstances, you will automatically revert to the 100% section. These include:
- If you stop receiving pay due to sickness/injury.
- If your employer’s re-auto enrolment date falls during your time in the 50/50 section of the scheme (please check with your employer when this is).
An election to join the 50/50 section must be made to your employer in writing.
50/50 section and paying extra
If you choose to move to the 50/50 section, any extra pension contributions or additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) would continue to be payable in full.
However, if you move to the 50/50 section and you are buying extra pension in the LGPS, the APC contract must cease. In addition, you are not allowed to take out a new APC contract to buy extra pension whilst you are in the 50/50 section.
If you’re paying Shared Cost APCs to buy lost pension due to a period of authorised unpaid leave or unpaid child related leave, these contracts can continue and new contracts can be taken out. This also applies if you are paying APCs (full cost to you) to buy lost pension because of a trade dispute or unpaid authorised leave of absence.
All other additional contribution options such as AVCs are not affected if you move to the 50/50 section.
More than one job?
If you have more than one job you can elect for the 50/50 section in one, some or all your jobs. Flexibility remains the same and you can move back into the main section at any point, in any of your jobs.
If you are in the LGPS with more than one employer, a separate election form must be completed and returned to each employer if you wish to join the 50/50 section.
Please note, the 50/50 section is designed to be a short-term option for when times are tough financially. With this in mind, your employer is required to automatically put you back into the main section of the LGPS every three years.
Your employer will tell you when this is about to happen. If you wish to continue in the 50/50 section, you need to make another election.
Can my employer ask me or force me to join the 50/50 section?
No, your employer cannot ask or force you to join the 50/50 section.
If you are asked or forced to join the 50/50 section you can inform The Pensions Regulator.