benefits+ is an opportunity for Durham University staff to save money in a number of ways.
Many of the schemes in benefits+ are salary reduction arrangements which give Durham University a smarter way to fund employee benefits as well as increasing your take-home pay, by reducing the amount of National Insurance contributions you pay. For further details, please see the benefits+ brochure (see related links).
benefits+ includes pensions+, nursery+, childcare+ and cycle+ which all work in a similar way through monthly payments from your salary. Our staff discounts mean you can save money off products and services from local participating suppliers, just by showing your Campus Card.
NEW - Do you travel regularly on the bus? Spread the cost of an Arriva season ticket with our latest staff discount.
How benefits+ schemes work
It's very simple. In salary reduction schemes, members of the scheme agree to give up part of their gross contractual salary equal to the cost of any part of benefits+, and the University then pays this contribution on their behalf.
This means that you no longer have to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions on the amount you have given up and your take-home pay will increase. The amount of savings depends on how much you earn and also which parts of benefits+ you choose to take advantage of. Most employees will benefit under benefits+, but there may be a few for whom it is not advantageous. However, there is no need to worry as we have put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that those who may be adversely affected are not included.
benefits+ will not affect your final pension benefits or any other salary-related payments or benefits that you receive from the University, such as salary increases, bonuses and overtime. These will be based on your reference salary which is your annual salary before benefits+.
Your reference salary will also be the amount used in any personal official letters e.g. mortgage letters, loan applications or job references. benefits+ will not affect your income tax position or your tax code.
If you require further information, contact Payroll and Pensions on 0191 334 6922/6902.
Who might not benefit?
Those who may not benefit include:
- Members who earn less than the Earnings Threshold for National Insurance. This is because you would not make any savings and may see your State benefits affected.
- Although the University does not pay below the National Minimum Wage (NMW), there may be staff whose pay could fall below the NMW by participating in any or all parts of benefits+. These staff will not be able to reduce their actual earnings below the NMW as it is illegal to do so.
A pay protection limit is in place to ensure that no employees are worse off under benefits+.
If your earnings currently, or in the future, fall below the pay protection limit or the NMW, you will not be able to participate and will not be entered into benefits+ automatically. Your monthly pension contributions will then be deducted from your salary.
- In addition, members who work less than 16 hours a week may find their Job Seekers Allowance affected. You will need to decide whether this is an issue for you and whether you wish to participate in benefits+ or not. If you require further information on this please contact Payroll & Pensions on 0191 334 6922/6902.
benefits+ will not reduce the following tax credits:
- Childcare element of Working Tax credit
- Working Tax credit
Please note that if your salary increases over the above thresholds, you will automatically be opted back into benefits+ at the earliest opportunity, normally from the following month. A letter will be sent to you confirming this.
The University's savings
The savings made by the University will be used to help improve the working environment at the University, taking into account ideas put forward as part of the recent employee satisfaction survey. Some savings will be focussed on supporting our environmental policies and ‘green' initiatives.