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Universities Superannuation Scheme

IMPORTANT: University staff can access relevant USS updates on the HR intranet.

The scheme

If you join the University in a role that qualifies for Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) membership, you will automatically be entered into USS. 

To opt in or opt out of USS please visit the USS Opting In/Out page.

All members will contribute to the USS Retirement Income Builder section of the scheme, which provides benefits based on a formula using your salary for each year that you are a member. This is known as a defined benefit (DB) pension arrangement.

For members with a salary over a certain threshold (£58,579.70 in 2019-20), for the part of their salary which is over the threshold, 8% of the employee’s contribution and part of the University’s contribution are allocated to the USS Investment Builder, which is a defined contribution (DC) pension arrangement.

In addition to the above pension benefits, USS members can choose to save more into their pension pot by making additional contributions to the USS Investment Builder. If you decide to save more into your pension pot by making additional contributions to the USS Investment Builder, you must arrange this through the My USS portal on The related deadlines are listed on the USS Investment Builder Deadlines page. USS members are also covered by the scheme’s death in service and ill health benefits.

USS Contribution Rates

USS have recently completed the 2018 valuation exercise and have confirmed the contribution rates that will become effective from 1 October 2019. Please see the USS website for more information. 

For employees who have their USS contributions deducted by Pensions Plus (the University’s salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions) from 1 October 2019 the level of your salary reduction will be adjusted to reflect the new USS standard member contribution rate. Contributions paid by Pensions Plus are shown on the left of your payslip, labelled “USS – PP (EE)”. The Pensions Plus booklet should be read in conjunction with the full version of this notice, both of which are available on the Pensions Plus website. The table below outlines the changes under Pensions Plus, and reflects the increase in USS standard member and employer contribution rates on 1 October 2019 and the planned increase in contributions from 1 October 2021:

Effective date

Standard member contribution

Standard employer contribution

Total employer pension contribution under Pensions Plus

1 October 2019




1 October 2021