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Local Gov Pension Scheme

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)

The LGPS is a nationwide scheme and is a valuable part of the pay and reward package for employees working in local government or working for other employers participating in the Scheme and for some councillors.

The Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund administers the LGPS on behalf of the Local Government Employers and certain Admitted Bodies in the administrative areas of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The membership currently comprises 20,000 current members, 12,000 pensioners and 11,000 former contributors with an entitlement to a deferred pension. There are currently 80 employing bodies in the scheme.

About the Local Government Pension Scheme

Joining the Scheme

Eligibility

To be eligible to join the LGPS you must meet the following criteria:
  • have a contract of employment of at least three months
  • be under the age of 75
  • work for an employer who offers membership of the Scheme.

Membership of the LGPS is automatic for most eligible employees unless you elect not to join.

How do I know if I am in the scheme?

Check your payslip to see if you are paying 'LGPS contributions' and if not, contact your employer to see if you can join.

Pension Form

It is important that you complete and return any joining form sent to you, even if you are already a member of the scheme, i.e. you have more than one post or you have left one post and taken up another.

On receipt of your form, relevant records will be set up and an official notification of your membership in the scheme will be sent to you.

Membership Form (PDF 187 KB)
 For all other Pension forms please see below.

Scheme Benefits

The scheme offers a valuable range of pension and related benefits, including:

Contribution Bands

You pay between 5.50% and 7.50% of the pay you receive for your contractual hours.

The rate you pay depends on which pay band you fall into.

If you work part-time your rate will be based on the whole-time pay rate for your job, although you will only pay contributions on the pay you actually earn.

The current pay bands remain unchanged from 01.04.2012 and are as follows: 

Band If your Whole Time Pay Rate is: You pay a contribution rate of:
1 to £13,500.00 5.50%
2 £13,701.00 to £16,100.00 5.80%
3 £16,101.00 to £20,800.00 5.90%
4 £20,801.00 to £34,700.00 6.50%
5 £34,701.00 to £46,500.00 6.80%
6 £46,501.00 to £87,100.00 7.20%
7 over £87,100.00 7.50%

The band ranges will normally be increased each April in line with the cost of living.

If you have no contractual hours of employment, contributions are deducted on all the pay you receive (up to the full-time hours for the job).

The real cost is usually even less because pension contributions attract tax relief and National Insurance contributions are normally lower for most people under state pension age.

Your employer pays a large part of the cost of providing the benefits promised. This means you receive high value benefits at a low cost to you.

In the future any increase or decrease in the cost of the scheme will be shared between employers and employees in accordance with government guidance.

April 2011 Contribution Bands (PDF 8KB).

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Transferring your previous Pension

Stages of the transfer process:

  • Complete a Transfer Form (PDF 125 KB) for each transfer you wish to investigate, with as much information as you have, including the name and address of the fund administrators, policy numbers and relevant dates.
  • Ensure that each form is signed and dated and then posted to Pension Services.
  • The Pension Section will write to your previous pension provider for a Transfer Value.
  • You will receive a quotation from Worcestershire County Council detailing the benefits the transfer will provide in the LGPS together with an option form to notify us of your decision.
  • Your previous pension provider may need several forms completed by yourself and the Pension Section, which can be a lengthy process.
  • Original Birth and Marriage Certificates  are often requested by previous pension providers before the transfer can proceed.
  • When all of the relevant information has been received the transfer will proceed and you will receive a Statutory Notification which will show the transferred membership in days/years.

Transferring previous Local Government Pension Scheme Benefits

Read the options available if you have a previous LGPS benefits (PDF 90 KB).

You can choose to transfer your previous LGPS membership to your new LGPS membership or to leave it separate.

If you transfer your previous LGPS membership into your new LGPS membership, benefits will be paid out based on your period of membership (PDF 18 KB) and final pay (PDF 26 KB) on leaving your local government job.

If your previous membership is before 1 April 2008 your benefits are calculated differently:
  • If you joined the LGPS before 1 April 2008 benefits based on membership to 31 March 2008 will be calculated at the rate of 1/80th of your final pay plus an automatic tax-free lump sum of  3 times your pension.
  • For membership from April 2008 your pension will be calculated at the increased rate of 1/60th of your final pay. There will be no automatic lump sum for membership built up after March 2008, but remember you do have the option to exchange some of your pension for tax-free lump sum.

If you are moving to a new job that has a lower whole-time rate of pay, you will need to decide whether it may be better not to join the benefits together.

  • You have 12 months from joining the LGPS to transfer your previous LGPS membership, unless your employer allows you longer. 
  • Transfers do not apply if your previous membership was as a councillor or mayor in England or Wales, or you have been awarded a LGPS pension share on divorce from your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner - you cannot transfer that membership to your new LGPS membership.

Transferring a previous Occupational Pension

  • Your previous pension provider will offer the LGPS a transfer value that buys you extra membership in the LGPS. If you transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS, your retirement benefits will be based on your period of membership (including the membership bought by the transfer) and final pay. 
  • You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous pension rights, unless your employer allows you longer.

Transferring Personal / Stakeholder Pension Plans

  • If you have a personal or stakeholder pension plan you can continue to pay into it at the same time as paying into the LGPS or, alternatively, you can stop paying into it and consider transferring it into the LGPS.
  • You can, if you wish, pay up to 100% of your total taxable earnings in any one tax year (or £3600 if greater) into any number of concurrent pension arrangements of your choice and be eligible for tax relief on those contributions. HM Revenue and Customs rules control the amount of pension savings you can have before you become subject to a tax charge.
  • Your previous pension provider will offer the LGPS a transfer value that buys you extra membership in the LGPS. If you transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS, your retirement benefits will be based on your period of membership (including the membership bought by the transfer) and final pay.
  • You only have 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer, unless your employer allows you longer.

Transferring Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC's)

  • If you have paid AVCs to the LGPS in England or Wales, these can be transferred to the AVC arrangement offered by your new pension fund administrator.
  • If you have paid AVCs to a scheme (other than to the LGPS in England or Wales) or you have paid Free Standing AVCs (FSAVCs) you can transfer them into the LGPS to buy extra LGPS membership.
  • You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous AVC rights to buy extra LGPS membership, unless your employer allows you longer.

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Increasing your Pension

Purchase of Additional Pension (PDF 67 KB)

Please click on the above link for information and contact details.

Additional Voluntary Contributions (PDF 114 KB)

We offer an in-house AVC Scheme through Scottish Widows.  If you would like further information and an application form, please contact Scottish Widows on 0845 7697316 or go to the Scottish Widows website.

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Absence from work

There are a number of circumstances which may cause you to be absent from work which can have differing effects on your pension benefits.

Maternity Leave

During a period of maternity leave you pay your normal contribution rate on whatever pay you receive. If you receive less than your normal pay your membership still builds up as usual. So there is no affect on your pension benefits.

The first 39 weeks of maternity leave will count in full for pension purposes.

For any period of additional maternity leave in excess of 39 weeks, you may choose to pay pension contributions to cover the unpaid period in order to avoid a break in membership. You have 30 days from the date you return to work (or leave) to decide. The arrears are calculated using your normal contribution rate of the pay you received immediately before your period of unpaid maternity leave commenced.

Where arrears are paid, the unpaid period will count in full for pension purposes.

If you choose not to pay arrears to cover the break, you will not build up any membership for this period of service.

Adoption Leave

Works the same way as maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

During a period of Paternity leave you pay your normal contribution rate on whatever pay you receive. If you receive less than your normal pay your membership still builds up as usual.

Absence through illness

During any period of absence through illness you pay your normal contribution rate on whatever pay you receive. If you receive less than your normal pay, or have a period of no pay, your membership still builds up as usual. So there is no affect on your pension benefits.

If you are absent close to retirement, this will not affect the pay we use to work out your pension benefits, as we will use the typical pay you would have received.

Unpaid Leave and Career Breaks

If the period of nil pay is 30 days or less, you must pay your normal contributions on the pay that you would have received had you remained at work as normal and there will be no affect on your pension benefits.

If you are off for more than 30 days you must pay contributions to cover the first 30 days as above, but then have the choice as to whether to pay contributions in excess of the 30 days. The maximum period of absence for which contributions can be paid is 36 months in total.  

You have 30 days from returning (or leaving) to decide and the cost is your normal contribution rate of the pay you would have received. You will not build up membership for any period for which contributions are not paid.

Strike

Absence from duty due to strike action for one or more complete days is treated in the same way as any other unpaid, unauthorised absence i.e. the service does not count for pension purposes.  

However, you can elect to pay pension contributions at the rate of 16% of the day(s) pay which you would have earned but for the absence. If this payment is made, the period of absence will count fully as pensionable service.

If you choose not to pay for a strike break, you will not build up any membership for this period.

Absence without permission

You cannot pay contributions to cover this period of absence and so you will not build up any membership for this period of service.

Jury Service

You must pay your normal contributions (even if you are on reduced pay or not paid) so there is no affect on your pension benefits.

Reserve Forces Leave

If you go on reserve forces leave and your reserve forces pay equals or exceeds the pay you would have received if you had remained at work, you are required to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive.

If your reserve forces pay is less than the pay you would have received if you had remained in your normal employment, your pension contributions are deemed to have been paid without you actually contributing anything. The service is counted in full for pension purposes.

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Leaving the Scheme

Leaver with less than 3 months Membership

If you leave the Scheme with less than 3 months membership you can elect to receive a refund of contributions paid or elect to transfer your service to another pension provider.

A deduction will be made from the refund to re-instate you in SERPS (the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme) and tax will be deducted at the rate of 20% on balance.

An option form will be sent to you once we are notified of your leaving.

Leaver with 3 months Membership or more

If you leave the Scheme with 3 months membership or more your benefits will be deferred and paid at retirement age.

Alternatively, you can elect to transfer the value of the deferred benefits to another pension provider.

There is no refund option.

Opting Out

You may choose to opt out of the Pension Scheme at any time.  In view of the excellent benefits you will be giving up you are advised to obtain financial advice before opting out.

To opt out of the Scheme please either complete an Opt Out Form (PDF 167 KB) or write a letter to your employer and send a copy to the Pension Section.

Opting Out with less than 3 month membership:

If you opt out of the Scheme within three months of joining your contributions will be refunded to you by your employer via the payroll.

Opting Out with 3 months membership or more:

If you opt out of the Scheme after three months of joining you will be treated as a leaver, as above, with no refund option.

You may rejoin the Scheme once after deciding to opt out, but any further applications would be subject to your employer’s agreement.

Deferred Pension

If you leave the Scheme before retirement age with over three months membership your pension benefits will be deferred.  You will be notified of the value of these benefits and receive an updated statement annually.

Deferred pensions can also be known as preserved pensions, or frozen pensions.

Payment of your benefits can commence between age 60 and age 65 however they may be subject to actuarial reductions.

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Pension Forms

New or existing members 
Membership Form (PDF 187 KB)
Joining the Local Government Pension Scheme.
Death Grant Nomination Form (PDF 144 KB)
Nominate beneficiaries to receive a Death Grant payment.
Cohabiting Partner Pension Form (PDF 108 KB)
Nominate a cohabiting partner to receive a survivor's pension.
Transfer of  Benefits Form (PDF 125 KB)
Transfer previous Personal/Occupational pension benefits.
Opt Out Form (PDF 167 KB)
Cease contributing to the pension scheme.
Change of Address Form (PDF 82 KB)
Confirm new address.  
 
Retiring or retired members 
Pension Estimate Form (PDF 49 KB)
Request an estimate of pension benefits.
Re-employed Pensioner (PDF 37 KB)
How will your pension be effected if you are re-employed in the Local Government sector.
Bank Form (PDF 213 KB)
Authority for payment of pension to your bank account.
Instructions (PDF 269 KB)
Instructions for completing the Bank Form.
Complaints form (PDF 100 KB)
Investigate a complaint to do with your pension.


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Further Information

In this section

More Information

See also in our website

External websites

  • DirectGov
    Information on State Pensions.
  • The LGPS
    The LGPS is a nationwide scheme and is a valuable part of the pay and reward package for employees working in local government or working for other employers participating in the Scheme.
  • Scottish Widows
    Scottish Widows works with your employer to provide this AVC Scheme to help you get the most out of planning and saving for retirement.
  • Department for Work and Pensions
    leads the Government's response to some of the biggest issues facing the country - welfare and pension reform.
  • HM Revenue and Customs HM Revenue and Customs are here to ensure the correct tax is paid at the right time, whether this relates to payment of taxes received by the department or entitlement to benefits paid.

We are not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more

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This page was last reviewed 28 November 2013 at 15:50.
The page is next due for review 27 May 2015.