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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development


Membership of a pension scheme supported by Durham University is an excellent benefit of working for the University. Both you and the University pay into the scheme and you benefit from it when you retire.

Contribution Rates from February 2020 (updated to reflect USS Contribution Rate increase)

Pensions+ if you are a member of DUPS and USS, you can make additional tax and NI savings on your pension contributions

A pension is a way of saving money to provide you with an income when you retire. A percentage of your pay is put into your pension scheme automatically every month. The University also pays a monthly contribution and the Government may contribute via tax relief.

The University provides two main pension schemes. DUPS (Durham University Pension Scheme) is for staff in grades 1-5, and USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) is for staff in grades 6 and above and hourly paid part time teachers.

If you choose not to join DUPS, you may be automatically enrolled into Aviva. For more information about automatic enrolment, click here.

You will pay a percentage of your monthly salary each month directly from your pay into your pension. The University also contributes a percentage of your monthly salary. For the current contribution rates (percentage of salary) click here.

Joining a pension scheme is an excellent way to save for your retirement. The key benefits of USS and DUPS include:

  • generous contribution from the University
  • tax relief on pension contributions
  • reduced NI payments through Pensions+
  • the option to make Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
  • life assurance

To join DUPS (staff in grades 1-5), complete the following forms:

  • DUPS Application Form
  • DUPS Expression of Wish Form
  • DUPS transfer form (should you wish to investigate a pension transfer into the plan)
  • DUPS Late Entrant Declaration (should you wish to join the pension plan after the start date of your employment at the University)

You can find the forms on the University Finance pages. Send the completed forms to the University Pensions Team.

If you are a new member of staff in grade 6 or above, you will be automatically enrolled into USS when you commence employment with the University.

Pensions+ is a scheme which enables you to increase your take-home pay by reducing the amount of National Insurance contributions you make. For further information, click here.

AVCs are extra pension contributions that you can make to top up your pension and so increase the benefits you receive when you retire.

There are two types of AVCs available to members of DUPS and USS:

1. DUPS - Money Purchase AVCs (administered by Prudential)

For more details, contact Prudential on 0345 6000 383

2. USS - Investment Builder (refer to USS online)

Life assurance pays a lump sum to your named beneficiary in the event of your death in service (i.e. while working for the University).

Automatic enrolment is a government initiative to encourage more people to have an income when they retire. All employers must enroll eligible staff into a workplace pension. For more details, click here.

If you have an existing pension, you may wish to transfer it into DUPS or USS.

If you are joining DUPS, please contact the University Pensions Team.

If you are joining USS, please see the USS website for more information or contact the University Pensions Team. Please note that if you are joining USS with a gap of less than one calendar month from a previous USS institution, the two periods of service will be automatically joined and you will be entitled to remain in USS without a break in your service.

For more information, contact the University Pensions Team:

Richard Walters ext 46951

Dean Lloyd ext 46888

Barbara Todd ext 46902