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Members: Active members

50 / 50 Section

50/50 Section – The flexibility to pay less

During your life there may be times when you are in a difficult position financially and might think about opting-out of (meaning leave) the scheme to save money.

At these times, you can choose to pay half your normal contributions and still build valuable pension benefits. If you choose to do this, you will build half your normal benefits. This is known as the 50/50 section of the scheme.

When you join the scheme, you will automatically be placed in the main section where you pay normal pension contributions in return for normal pension build up. When you are a member of the Scheme you will be able to choose to move to the 50/50 section, if you want to. To do this, you will need to complete the Election to Join the 50/50 Section Form. After you give this form to your employer, you will start paying half your normal contributions from the next available pay period.

Once you are a member of the Scheme you will be able to elect to move to the 50/50 section, if you wish, by completing the 'Election to Join the 50/50 Section' form, use the URL for the forms page. Once you make an election you will start paying half your normal contributions from your next available pay period.

Who can choose the 50/50?
Any member of the scheme can choose to pay into the 50/50 section at any time. There is no limit to the number of times you can choose to move between the main and 50/50 sections, and back again.

If you have more than one job where you contribute to the Scheme, you must specify in which job(s) you want to be moved to the 50/50 section.

What happens to my life assurance and ill health cover when I’m in the 50/50 section?
If you die in service, the lump sum death grant, and any survivor pensions, will be worked out as if you were in the main section of the scheme.

If you are awarded an ill-health pension under Tier 1 or Tier 2 whilst in the 50/50 section, the amount of ill-health enhancement added to your pension is worked out as if you were in the main section of the Scheme.

How long can I remain in the 50/50 section?
The 50/50 section is designed to be a short-term option for when times are tough financially. Because of this, your employer has to move you back into the main section of the Scheme every three years. This will be carried out at your employer’s automatic re-enrolment date. Your employer will tell you when this is and, if you want to, you can move back to the 50/50 section of the Scheme by completing another form.

What happens if I am on sick leave?
If you are in the 50/50 section and move onto a period of no pay due to sickness or injury, you will be moved into the main section of the Scheme. By doing this, you will start to build up your full pension again, even though you will not be paying any contributions.

How do I move back into the main section?

Whilst in the 50/50 section, you can choose to move back to the main section of the Scheme at any time by completing the Election to Re-join the Main Section Form.
If you have more than one job where you contribute to the Scheme, you must specify in which job(s) you want to be moved to the main section.

Whilst in the 50/50 section, you can choose to move back to the main section of the Scheme at any time by completing the the 'Election to Re-join the Main Section' form, use the URL for the forms page. If you have more than one job in which you contribute to the 50/50 section of the Scheme you must specify in which of the jobs you wish to be moved back to the main section. You will then start to build up full benefits in the main section from the next available pay period after your employer receives your election.

What does my employer pay if I'm in the 50/50 section?
Your employer continues to pay their normal contribution rate (not half their rate) when you are in the 50/50 section of the Scheme.

I am paying extra pension contributions, are these affected if I move to the 50/50 section?
If you move from the main section of the Scheme to the 50/50 section you may have to stop paying extra contributions. This will depend on the type of extra contributions you are paying.

If you are paying:

  Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) - buying extra pension only, or

  Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs) – buying lost pension only,

you will stop paying these contributions when you elect to move to the 50/50 section. Also, when you are in the 50/50 section of the Scheme, you cannot elect to commence payment of APCs or SCAPCs unless it is to purchase an amount of lost pension during certain periods of unpaid absence or maternity/paternity/adoption leave.

If you are paying:

  Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) - buying lost pension only, or

  Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs) – buying lost pension only, or

  Additional Regular Contributions (ARCs), or

  Added Years, or

  extra contributions to buy-back previous part-time service, or

  extra contributions to buy survivors pension for an eligible cohabiting partner

  Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contributions (SCAVCs)


you will continue to pay these contributions when you elect to move to the 50/50 section until the contract has been paid in full.

If you pay:

  Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), or

  Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contributions (SCAVCs)


you will continue to pay these when you elect to move to the 50/50 section, unless you choose to terminate the contract. You can elect to commence payment of an AVC or Shared Cost AVC when you are in the 50/50 section of the Scheme.

Example of the main section compared to the 50/50 section:
This example is based on an employee earning £24,500 per year who pays a normal contribution rate of 6.5% for one year in the Scheme.

Main Section 50/50 Section
Gross contribution in the main section
(for 1 year)
6.5% = £1,592.50
Gross contribution in the 50/50 section
(for 1 year)
3.25% = £796.25
Pension build up before revaluation in
the main section
(for 1 year)
£500 for each year in Retirement
Pension build up before revaluation in
the 50/50 section
(for 1 year)
£250 for each year in Retirement
Lump sum Life Asurance Cover
£73,500
Lump sum Life Asurance Cover
£73,500
Full ill health cover Full ill health cover