FAQs

We will be adding more answers to FAQs on a regular basis, so please revisit soon.

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1 - I am leaving the Company what happens to my pension?

We will automatically contact you once we have received your final leaving details, which is normally within one month of you leaving the Company.

For more details click here

2 - How can I get a retirement quotation or transfer value for my pension?

You can request a retirement quotation or transfer value by writing to us.  If you prefer you can email pensions@compass-group.co.uk. Please quote your National Insurance number, current address and date of birth on your request.

More information on transferring your pension can be found here.

3 - Where can I get more details about my pension?

If you can't find the answer you need on our website then, please go to the Contact Us page.

4 - What does 'contracted-out' mean?

Whilst you are paying pension contributions, you are ‘contracted-out’ of the State Second Pension (formerly known as SERPS) and the Compass Pension Scheme replaces the Earnings-Related part of the State benefit. As a result of being contracted-out you pay lower National Insurance contributions on part of your salary.

The benefits payable from the Scheme are guaranteed to be at least a certain level broadly equal to what you would have received in the Earnings-Related part of the State benefit if you had not been contracted-out.

Contracting-out does not reduce or affect your entitlement to the Basic State Pension in any way.

5 - Can I take my pension early?

Subject to the consent of the Trustees, you may retire early before Normal Retirement Date on an immediate pension from age 55 onwards. In some circumstances the consent of the Company is also required.

Your pension would be calculated as for Normal Retirement but it would be based on your Pensionable Service up to the date of your early retirement and your Final Pensionable Pay at that date. The pension would be reduced to take account of early payment for each year (and proportionately for part years) that retirement is before your Normal Retirement Date (NRD). The amount of reduction is agreed from time to time between the Trustees and the Scheme Actuary. The reduction is currently 4% for each year (and proportionately for part years) that retirement is before NRD, but is subject to change without notice.

Please note that, if the reduced pension is less than your Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) the option to take an early retirement pension may not be available.

You should be aware that, if you retire before age 60 and do not take up alternative employment, this may affect your entitlement to payment of the full Basic State Pension (BSP). It is therefore recommended that you complete a Pensions Forecast form (BR19) available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP will be able to confirm whether or not you will be entitled to a full BSP. Additionally, should you not be eligible for the full BSP they can advise on how you can make voluntary National Insurance Contributions to ensure that you will receive the full BSP from State Pension Age.

6 - What happens to my pension whilst I am on maternity leave?

There are two elements of maternity leave. There is Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and Additional Maternity Leave (AML). During periods of OML your pension membership remains whole whether or not you are paying contributions. Once you move to AML then pension ceases to accrue and you are treated as having a ‘Temporary Absence’.

Once you return to work your pension accrual recommences but that period of AML continues to be treated as a period where no pension has accrued unless you choose to pay contributions in respect of that period.

As mentioned above, whilst you are on OML your pension accrual continues. However, you are only required to pay pension contributions for that period when you are receiving 90% of your pay. Once you move from the 90% of pay onto basic Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) then contributions cease but you still accrue pensionable service. Life cover continues, uninterrupted, during the full period of Maternity Leave (OML and AML).

If your right to return to work is not exercised, you will cease to be a participating member and will be entitled to leaving service benefits calculated to the date you failed to exercise your right to return.

7 - Can I assign my pension as security against my mortgage?

You may not assign or charge your benefits under the Plan or use them as security or collateral for a loan or mortgage. Any attempt to do so will result in the total loss of all your benefits and prospective dependants’ benefits.

8 - What happens to my pension while I am on unpaid sick leave?

If you are away from work due to sickness without pay, your death benefits will continue in force for up to thirty-six months. When you return to work the Company has discretion to offer you the option of either paying the missed contributions in respect of the period of unpaid leave to maintain your full rights in the Plan, or having that period deducted from all future benefit calculations. If we do not hear from you, any months where you have not paid a pension contribution will be excluded, alternatively, if you would like to repay the missing contributions to give you continuous pensionable service, then please let us know.

9 - Can a common-law partner receive the pension that would otherwise be paid to a spouse?

A:  Spouse pensions under the Plan, if there is no legal spouse, can be paid to a dependant at the discretion of the Trustees. There will need to have been a financial interdependency that existed between the member and their partner that can be evidenced to the satisfaction of the Trustees before they will consider payment of a dependents pension. Such evidence is likely to include a mortgage/rent book in joint names; joint bank accounts; utility bills in joint names etc. 

Members are welcome to advise the Trustees of any common-law partner that they would wish a dependants pension to be paid to in the event of their death – however the Trustees would still investigate the position at death to determine whether a financial interdependency still existed.

10 - What are AVCs?

A:  Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are simply a way of a member increasing their retirement benefits by paying extra contributions themselves. There is no company contribution.

  • They are entirely voluntary
  • Tax relief is given on contributions in exactly the same way as normal Plan contributions
  • The member has a choice as to how they are invested
  • They grow tax free
  • They can boost retirement benefits, e.g. for those who may retire early or may have changed jobs and started saving for pension relatively late on in their careers.
11 - What advice can you give me regarding pensions?

A:  Unfortunately, we are not in a position to offer advice, we can only present the options.  If you have any need for financial advice you should approach an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).

12 - How can a member locate a 'good' Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)?

A:  There is an IFA website www.unbiased.co.uk. This website will recommend advisers in the member's local area that they can then contact. At the end of the day an employee needs to be ‘comfortable’ with the advice they are given. Quite often this will be through a recommendation from a friend or relative who has already used an IFA. As a simple guide:

  • Financial Advisors must pass the Financial Planning certificate to level 3 to qualify to give advice.
  • You could check whether your IFA has specialised their service by seeing if they have taken the Advanced Financial Planning Certificate.
13 - What benefits will I be entitled to upon leaving Compass?

A:  The benefits you are entitled to depend on the length of pensionable service and age.

If you leave the Company before completing two years pensionable service, you will receive a refund of the contributions you made to the Plan. The Compass Plan is contracted out of the State Second Pension. Therefore, you have paid National Insurance Contributions at a lower rate during the period of your membership of the Plan. As a consequence, when a refund of contributions is made, a deduction is applied to cover the National Insurance contributions you saved whilst being a member of the Plan.

Income tax is payable on the gross refund at the rate of 20%, regardless of your own personal tax position.

If you have completed more than two years’ service you cannot have a refund. Instead we are required to retain your contributions and provide you with a pension payable from your Normal Retirement Date (NRD). The pension is based on the formula set out in the Plan booklet but based on service to date of leaving and your pensionable salary at that time.

If you are over 55 you may be able to take an immediate early retirement pension but this will depend on your individual circumstances.

14 - How will I find out about my entitlement when I leave?

A:  You will automatically receive details of your benefits from the Group Pensions Department. How long you will need to wait for this information depends on how quickly the Pensions Department receive your final payroll details from Payroll and workloads at that time. Generally refunds and retirements are dealt with first as benefits are due immediately and so take priority over deferred benefits.

The Pensions Department will send details direct to your home address so you should keep them informed of any changes in address after leaving the Company. If you have less than two years’ service you will be sent a cheque with our letter, and if you are of retirement age you will be sent further details and will be asked to complete a Payment Instruction Form.

15 - What do I do if I want a refund?

A:  The refund cheque will be sent to you automatically if you have less than two years’ pensionable service. As an alternative you may transfer the gross refund of contributions to another approved pension arrangement. If you wish to pursue this you should return the cheque to the Pensions Department together with contact details as to your new pension arrangements. Once the refund cheque is cashed, the option of a transfer will lapse.

16 - Can I contribute further to my pension once I leave?

A:  No. All contributions cease on your date of leaving.

17 - I am being made redundant and am being paid in lieu of notice. Is the notice period pensionable?

A:  No, pensionable service ceases on the day your employment terminates regardless as to whether or not you have received pay in lieu.

18 - What happens to my deferred pension between date of leaving and retirement date?

A:  As a member of the Compass Group Pension Plan, your deferred pension at date of leaving will increase during the period of deferment up to the date of your retirement as set out in the Plan booklet.

19 - What about my Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)?

A:  Your AVCs are treated in the same way as your main scheme benefits, so if you have a refund of your main contributions, your accumulated AVC fund will be refunded too; and if you retire, your AVCs are used to purchase an immediate pension.

If your main scheme is deferred then your AVCs remain invested and will participate in the investment returns of your chosen funds(s) and will then be used to buy a pension at the time you start to draw your main scheme benefits.

20 - Can I transfer my benefit elsewhere once I leave the scheme?

A:  Rather than leave your deferred pension within the Compass arrangements, you may transfer the value of your pension to your new employers’ scheme or to a Personal pension or individual insurance contract. The new scheme must be an Inland Revenue approved arrangement.

You have the right to transfer at any time from your date of leaving up to 12 months before your Normal Retirement Date.

You should ask your new pension provider to write direct to the Group Pensions Department.

21 - Where can I find further information?

A:  You can write directly to PS Administration Limited (PSAL), the administrators of the Compass Group Pension Plan, at:

Priory Place
New London Road
Chelmsford
Essex
CM2 0PP

Or email compassadminteam@psadmin.com