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St Mary's University Pension Plan and Group Life Assurance Scheme for Support Staff

Any member of staff aged between 22 and state pension age and who earn over £10,000 per annum (2019/20) will be automatically entered into a pension scheme (someone who meets the above detailed criteria is called an eligible job holder).

Support staff who are eligible job holders will be entered into St Mary’s University Pension Plan and Group Life Assurance Scheme which is operated by Aviva. Aviva will continuously monitor St Mary’s payroll data and will contact staff members who are eligible jobholders. 

Auto Enrolment takes approximately four months to complete - if you wish to join the scheme before the auto-enrolment process has been completed, please complete the SMU - Opt in form (AE) Salary Exchange Default 2020 v1.pdfand email it to the HR Helpdesk, clearly stating the contribution rate to be applied.

For staff who have joined the scheme since 1st December 2013 SMU - Member Booklet (Post AE) 2020 v1.pdfprovides all the information about the pension plan to which you will be automatically enrolled and further member information.

For members who joined the scheme before 1st December 2013 SMU - Member Booklet (Pre AE) 2020 v1.pdf    provides information about the pension scheme applicable to you.

Additional information on how St Mary's manages the Staff Pension Scheme can be found in our Pension Policy final.pdf

Automatic Re-enrolment

St Mary's Automatic Re-enrolment date is 1st September 2022. If you previously opted out of the pension scheme you may be automatically re-enrolled.

Increase in auto-enrolment default contributions (April 2019)

From April 2019, the University's new miminum contribution ie default will be 3% (employee) and 6% (employer), a total contribution of 9%.

In accordance with auto enrolment legislation St Mary’s is not permitted to hold or issue opt out forms. If you were to choose to opt out of the pension plan, please go to the Aviva website or phone 0845 602 9199 - there is a limited opting out period (one month after auto enrolment). Please note that if you are assessed as an eligible jobholder, the letter issued to you will provide further information on how to opt out should you wish to / the timeframe in which this must be done to receive re-imbursement of the pension contribution.

If you are not an eligible job holder you will not be automatically enrolled into the pension plan, however, you can elect to join the pension plan should you wish to by completing the ​SMU - Opt in form (AE) Salary Exchange Default 2020 v1.pdf

Please return all completed forms to the Human Resources Department.

Changing your contribution rate

Staff who are automatically enrolled into the pension plan will pay the contribution rates as detailed in the members booklet, however you can choose to increase your contribution rate by emailing

​Salary sacrifice

Staff who are automatically enrolled into the pension plan will pay their contributions via salary sacrifice  Aviva - salary sacrifice (see method 3), however if you want to pay via the non-salary sacrifice method you can do elect to do so by completing the change of payment method form and returning the form to Human Resources. ​

More information on salary sacrifice can be found here -  SMU - Salary Exchange - Questions and Answers (Relief at Source) 2020 v1.pdf

Beneficiary Nomination - Life Assurance and Death in Service

All staff who are members of the Staff Pension Plan must complete the following documents to nominate beneficiaries in the event of death in service:

  • Group Life Assurance Scheme Beneficiary Nomination Form 
  • Death Benefit Expression of Wish Form 

Fund Options (for those who joined the scheme prior to May 2016)

Changes were made to the default investment fund for the Staff Pension Scheme from May 2016. Please see below for more details and (if required) instructions on changing fund - this only affects individuals who joined the scheme before May 2016:

Further information on your Aviva pension plan can be found on the Aviva  website.

​​General information about pensions saving can be accessed on the GOV.UK Pensions website.​