3 positivebenefits How positivebenefits works 4 Who will be eligible 4 Don t forget... 4 The University s savings 5 positivepensions How it works 7 What happens next 8 Variation in terms and conditions of employment 8 Frequently asked questions 10 positivechildcare How it works 14 What happens next 14 Variation in terms and conditions of employment 16 Frequently asked questions 16 Useful contact details 17 positivecycling How it works 18 What happens next 18 Variation in terms and conditions of employment 18 What you save 19 Frequently asked questions 20 Useful contact details 20 General questions about positivebenefits 22 Further information 28 Other useful resources 28
4 4 positivebenefits positivebenefits is a smarter way to pay for your benefits; it enables you to reduce the amount of income tax and/or National Insurance contributions you pay, increasing your take home pay. We already provide two benefits which are run in this way: childcare vouchers and the University Day Care Centre scheme. We are keen to make better use of this approach by adding another two benefits, pension contributions and cycling. This booklet explains how positivebenefits works in more detail but, if after reading this booklet (including the frequently asked questions at the back), you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact: How positivebenefits works It s very simple. If you agree to exchange a part of your gross contractual salary which is equal to the cost of any part of positivebenefits, the University will pay this cost on your behalf. This means that, depending on the benefits you choose, you no longer have to pay tax and/or National Insurance contributions on the amount you have exchanged and so your take home pay will increase. The amount of savings depends on how much you earn and also which parts of positivebenefits you participate in. Who will be eligible? In general, most University staff will be eligible for positivebenefits unless participation would cause them to: earn less than 6,600 a year (or 550 a month), the positivebenefits pay protection limit, or their earnings fall below the National Minimum Wage per month. Further details regarding eligibility are contained within the relevant sections of this booklet. Don t forget... Most employees will benefit under positivebenefits, but there may be a few for whom it is not advantageous and we explain this in more detail on page 22. Please note that by participating in any part of positivebenefits, you are agreeing to a variation of your contractual terms and conditions of employment. This is explained in more detail on page 22.
5 The University s savings The savings made by the University will be used to support the sustainability of the University, including energy conservation and Positive Working Environment initiatives which will have a direct or indirect impact on improving the working experience of staff. An annual report outlining the use of the savings will be produced. 5
6 6 positivepensions Members already receive income tax relief on pension contributions and the University is committed to making your pension contributions work even more efficiently. By introducing positivepensions from 1 July 2008, both you and the University can make savings. Instead of making monthly pension contributions from your salary, you agree to give up an amount of your gross contractual salary equal to the value of your pension contributions. In exchange, the University increases its contributions to cover both the employee and employer elements of the pension contributions. Members of both the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the Cardiff University Pension Fund (CUPF) can participate in positivepensions. Unfortunately, members of the Local Government Pension Scheme and the NHS Pension Scheme are unable to participate in the positivepensions scheme. If you would like to see how positivepensions would affect your take home pay, you can use our positivebenefits modeller. For access, go to the University s website at: and follow the links. Or you can contact the help desk on extension or As a result, both you and the University pay less in National Insurance (NI) contributions and your take home pay increases. Your pensionable salary will be based on your reference salary (your salary before any reductions relating to positivebenefits are made) plus any other earnings which are recognised by the University as pensionable.
7 7 Illustration of how it works Current After positivepensions Salary: 30,000 Reference salary: 30,000 Adjusted base salary: 28,500 Employee contribution: 1,500 University contribution: 3,000 University contribution: 4,500 Pension 4,500 in pot Pension 4,500 in pot NI on employee contributions No NI on employee contributions Employee saves NI on 1,500 of salary
8 8 How it works Your gross contractual salary will be reduced by 6.35%. In return, the University will increase its contributions by an equivalent amount which will be paid into the pension fund. As your salary will be lower, you will pay lower National Insurance contributions. Currently, Additional Voluntary Contributions are not included in positivepensions and will continue to be deducted from your salary as they were before positivepensions. Your basic state pension will not be affected. Your CUPF or USS pension will not be affected. Your tax position will remain unchanged. What happens next? From 1 July 2008, all existing pension members in both the USS and the CUPF will be automatically opted into positivepensions unless you choose to opt out, earn less than the positivebenefits pay protection limit, or your earnings would fall below the National Minimum Wage if you were to participate. If you currently participate in positivechildcare or elect to participate in positivecycling, any amounts you take will be taken into account when deciding if you will be automatically enrolled in positivepensions. You will be informed if you are to be automatically opted out upon launch of the scheme. Variation in terms and conditions of employment Please note that by participating in positivepensions you are agreeing to a variation in your terms and conditions of employment with effect from 1 July If you do not want to participate, you can opt out by completing an opt out form which you can get on request from extension The completed form must be received by 27 June The University will assume that you accept the proposed change unless you complete and return an opt out form before 27 June Members over State Pension Age do not pay any National Insurance and as a result will not make a National Insurance saving. However, you can still be included in positivepensions as the University will still make savings on the National Insurance contributions it pays. This booklet seeks to provide as much information as we can but if you are unsure about whether or not you should participate in positivepensions, you should seek your own financial advice. Remember, however, that positivepensions is designed so that no one should lose out and most members will benefit from taking part. Details of an independent financial adviser (IFA) near you can be found by calling IFA Promotion Ltd on or at
10 10 Frequently asked questions Does this affect the pension I will get from either pension scheme? No. Your pension will not be affected and continues to be a valuable benefit to you. Your pension at retirement is based on your years of service in the Scheme and your pensionable salary. As pensionable salary is not affected by the introduction of positivepensions, your pension benefits will be unchanged. How much will I save in National Insurance? The amount that you will save will vary depending on your level of pay. However, the following table will give you a guide as to how much you can expect your take home pay to increase by paying less National Insurance: Have both the pension schemes trustees and the Unions been consulted? Yes, the Trustees and the Trade Unions have been consulted regarding the introduction of positivepensions. Why are savings different at different rates of pay? The marginal rate of National Insurance that you pay depends on how much you earn. For earnings above the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL), ( 40,040 from April 2008), the employee National Insurance rate is currently just 1%. If this rate increases in the future, then your opportunity to make savings will increase. Can I opt out of positivepensions now? If you do not want to reduce your gross contractual salary under positivepensions, you will need to complete an opt out form and return it by 27 June Salary Estimated Saving ( ) per month per year 15, , , , If you would like to see how the switch to positivepensions will affect your take home pay, you can use our positivebenefits modeller. This can be found on the University s website at: and follow the links.
11 11 Can I opt out of positivepensions in the future if my situation changes? If you wish to opt out after 27 June 2008, you can do so if your situation significantly changes following a lifestyle event, for example if your pay or hours change significantly, if you go on maternity leave or are sick. To request an opt out form, contact extension If your salary drops below the pay protection limit (currently 6,600 a year or 550 a month), you will be automatically removed from positivepensions so that you are not disadvantaged. If I decide to opt out of positivepensions, can I opt back in? You will be able to opt back in but only at the next enrolment period, which is 1 April each year. You should contact the Pensions Administrator in writing if you wish to do so. I am on maternity leave/on sick leave/on a secondment/working abroad/on paid research leave/on a sabbatical am I eligible for positivepensions? As long as you receive a monthly salary which is more than 550 a month from the University, and you would not otherwise fall below the National Minimum Wage, you will automatically be opted in to positivepensions. If you do not meet one or more of these criteria, you will automatically be opted out. I have been on maternity leave am I eligible for positivepensions on my return? Yes. If your earnings are above the pay protection limit when you return to work, you will be included in positivepensions and if they are below this limit, you will be opted out of positivepensions. If I am automatically opted out, can I opt back in? If you have been opted out of positivepensions, it is unlikely that you will benefit from opting back in. However, if you are aware of a lifestyle change e.g. an increase in working hours, and you feel you may benefit, please contact the Pensions Administrator.
12 12 What happens if I have more than one post at the University? If you have more than one post with the University, your total pensionable pay for all your contracts will be taken into account. If your pay falls below the pay protection limit (currently 550 a month) you will be opted out. If you opt out of positivepensions you will be opted out for all your positions at the University. What happens if I leave the University or the pension scheme? If you leave the University and have been a member of either the USS or CUPF for two years or more, your treatment as a deferred member will not change because of the introduction of positivepensions. Your accrued benefits will be secured as normal. Members who opt out of the USS or CUPF within three months of joining it, whether or not they remain in employment, will be put back into the position they would have been had they not joined the scheme by receiving a refund of the notional employee contributions less tax and National Insurance. Under positivepensions, members of the CUPF who leave after three months of joining but at any time before completing two years pensionable service will be entitled to a transfer value or a refund of the notional employee contributions less tax and National Insurance. If you were a member of either scheme at 27 June 2008, and you were paying normal pension contributions directly (or if you choose not to participate in positivepensions or your earnings fall below the pay protection limit), you will be entitled to receive a refund of any normal employee pension contributions actually paid, should you leave either scheme within two years of joining it. What happens if I retire? Participating in positivepensions will have no impact on your retirement benefits. Do I need to sign a new contract? No. You will be deemed to have accepted the new terms unless you opt out. Your existing contract will be varied to this effect. Under positivepensions, members of the USS who leave after three months of joining but before completing two years pensionable service will be entitled to a transfer value or a deferred pension.
14 14 positivechildcare The University currently provides some childcare facilities for employees on campus as well as childcare vouchers through Busy Bees. These already operate under positivebenefits. How it works You can elect to reduce part of your annual salary to cover childcare costs either through the on-campus facilities (positivechildcare Day Care) or with a registered offcampus provider using childcare vouchers through Busy Bees (positivechildcare Vouchers). Vouchers are free of tax and National Insurance, up to a limit of 243 a month and 2,916 a year (for 2008/09). The full cost of places in the University Day Care is free of tax and National Insurance. positivechildcare Vouchers covers children up to 16 years of age. positivechildcare Day Care covers children up to five years of age. What happens next? If you currently participate in either part of childcare, you will automatically be enrolled in positivechildcare for the same amount of benefit. If you would like to take advantage of positivechildcare Vouchers, please contact Busy Bees for more details and an application form. If you would like to take advantage of positivechildcare Day Care, please contact the Day Care Centre manager for more details and an application form. You are eligible for this benefit if you have a child placed in the Day Care Centre. Your partner is also eligible to contribute to the cost of the day care although not through positivebenefits. If you do not currently participate in positivechildcare, you can sign up at any time, provided your participation would not cause you to earn less than the pay protection limit or National Minimum Wage. If you want to sign up for positivechildcare, but already participate in other benefits under positivebenefits, and the amount of vouchers you require would take your pay below the pay protection limit or National Minimum Wage, please contact or extension The minimum term for childcare vouchers is 12 months, unless there is a significant change in your circumstances (see page 17). Please note that you do not sign up for vouchers in respect of a child who has a place in the University Day Care Centre. However, you may have one child in the Day Care Centre and choose to receive childcare vouchers for another child using an off-campus provider. If you are receiving Working Tax Credits then you may lose some tax credits if you select childcare vouchers. This will depend on your individual circumstances. For more information, visit HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website at:
16 16 Variation of your terms and conditions of employment Please note that by participating in positivechildcare, you are agreeing to a variation in your terms and conditions of employment. Frequently asked questions Why does my carer have to register with Busy Bees? In order for Busy Bees to pay your carer they need to have your carer s bank details. Busy Bees is also required to check with Ofsted that your carer is registered to look after children. All carers are paid by BACS transfer direct into their bank accounts. Can I order vouchers for any child? No. In order to benefit from the scheme you must be the parent or legal guardian of the child. This does include foster children and legally adopted children. The child must also be aged less than 16. Will any childcare provider accept these vouchers? Most providers will accept vouchers, however if you have any difficulties, please contact Busy Bees on Can I opt into positivechildcare Day Care? Opting into positivechildcare Day Care is subject to gaining a place at the University Day Care Centre. What does it cost my carer to register with Busy Bees? Absolutely nothing. Busy Bees will cover the cost of postage and telephone calls for all carers who accept our vouchers so it doesn t cost them a penny. Can I order vouchers for more than one child? Yes. You can order vouchers for as many children and carers as you wish. You must list each carer separately on your order form, and each child carer must register with Busy Bees.
17 17 What do I do if I no longer wish to receive childcare vouchers, e.g. if my child no longer requires childcare? It is possible to opt out of positivechildcare Vouchers if your situation significantly changes following a lifestyle event, for example if your pay or hours change significantly. If you think this might apply to you, please contact Busy Bees directly on Withdrawing your child from the University Day Care Centre would result in a withdrawal from positivechildcare Day Care. A withdrawal is also possible if your situation significantly changes following a lifestyle event, for example if your pay or hours change significantly. If you think this might apply to you, please speak to the Day Care Centre Manager in the first instance. Who do I contact if I want more information? To obtain detailed information on positivechildcare Vouchers, please contact Busy Bees directly on Useful contact details Busy Bees Mark Puntan (Finance) extension If I m making a voucher change, when do the forms need to be completed? All order forms must be received and processed by Busy Bees by the last working day of the month before the pay period in which the vouchers will be issued. If you wish to change your Day Care arrangements you will need to speak to Mark Puntan in Finance on extension or contact
18 18 positivecycling The University is introducing positivecycling as a new benefit to employees. Under positivecycling you can hire a bicycle (and associated safety equipment) for 18 months completely free of income tax and National Insurance contributions. To take advantage of positivecycling you should use the bike mainly for journeys to and from work but this doesn t prevent you from using it for leisure purposes too. How it works To take part in positivecycling you must agree to a reduction in your salary over a fixed period (18 months) equal to the cost to the University of providing the bike and equipment selected. You do not pay tax or National Insurance on this benefit. PositiveCycling can be set up in three simple steps: If you were to cease employment before the end of the hire agreement, the outstanding balance will be repayable immediately and, if possible, it will be deducted from your last net salary payment. Tax and National Insurance savings will be lost on any outstanding balance. What happens next? If you would like to take advantage of positivecycling, please contact your HR Manager or for more details and a positivecycling pack. The minimum term for positivecycling is 18 months, and you are unable to change the benefit during this time. Variation of your terms and conditions of employment Please note that by participating in positivecycling, you are agreeing to a variation in your terms and conditions of employment. 1. Make sure you are eligible to join the scheme. 2. Decide which bike shop you want to use and ensure they are willing to participate. 3. Place your bike order through that shop. positivecycling can be selected by any employee over the age of 18 who has at least 18 months remaining on their employment contract and is not hourly paid. Please note that you don t have legal ownership of the equipment during the 18 month hire agreement.
19 19 What you save Here s an example of how much you could save on this scheme. It is based on a bike costing 400 and allows for the fact that the University will be entering a finance agreement to pay for the bike (the cost of which is included in your gross monthly sacrifice). This example is for guideline purposes only. Basic Rate Taxpayer Higher Rate Taxpayer Bike Price Gross Monthly Salary Sacrifice Income Tax Savings* National Insurance Savings** Reduction in Take Home Pay Scheme Cost Total Savings *** Total Savings % % % Please Note: * Assumes 20% for Basic Rate Taxpayers and 40% for Higher Rate Taxpayers ** Assumes 9.4% for Basic Rate Taxpayers and 1% for Higher Rate Taxpayers. *** Based on 18 monthly payments beginning the month after the bike is delivered.
20 20 Frequently asked questions Can I change my mind once I have ordered a bike under the scheme? As part of this scheme you sign a hire agreement and once you have done so you are making a commitment for the 18 month hire period which cannot be cancelled. Does it matter what I use the bike for? You can use it for anything you like but at least 50% of the bike s use must be for work purposes. This will include commuting i.e. all or part of the journey (for example to the station) from your home to your place of work, or from one workplace to another. What if I lose or damage the equipment? You must insure the bike and safety equipment against theft, fire or accidental damage so that it can be replaced if it no longer works. If it goes missing or is damaged you will have to keep paying for it. Please contact the company that provides your home contents insurance policy and they will be able to advise you on how best to cover your new equipment. Useful contact details Is there a limit to the value for the bike I can acquire? Yes. You can spend up to 1,000 on this scheme and have up to two bikes. How long is the hire agreement for? Your hire agreement will be for a period of 18 months. At the end of the agreement, you will have the option of returning the bike or purchasing it for a fair market value from your net pay.
22 22 General questions about positivebenefits What s the difference between my reference salary and my pensionable salary? Your reference salary is your annual salary before adjustment for positivebenefits. Your reference salary is used to calculate your other salary related benefits including salary increases, bonuses and overtime. It is also the amount used in any personal official letters e.g. mortgage letters, loan applications or job references etc. The Gross/Total Payments figure shown on your payslip will be 1 12 th of your reference salary plus any other contractual or non-contractual earnings, less an amount equal to your normal monthly pension contributions (and any other contributions for positivechildcare or positivecycling) made through a positivebenefits arrangement. This is also technically known as your gross contractual salary. Your pension benefits are based on your pensionable salary. This is your annual salary or reference salary including any other earnings as may be recognised by Cardiff University as pensionable. For confirmation on which earnings are recognised, please refer to your pension scheme booklet. Why do my terms and conditions of employment need to be varied? To benefit from the reduction in National Insurance, it is necessary to reduce your gross contractual salary, which is a variation to your terms and conditions of employment. This is the only change and there is no effect on any other element of your pay or benefits. In fact, you can be better off by participating in positivebenefits. Who might not benefit from positivebenefits? positivebenefits has been designed so that most employees will benefit from participating. However, there are some who may not benefit for various reasons. These include: Employees who earn less than the Earnings Threshold for National Insurance, 5,435 for the 2008/09 tax year. This is because you would not make any National Insurance savings and may see your State benefits affected. Although the University does not pay below the National Minimum Wage, there may be employees whose salary could be reduced below the National Minimum Wage through participating in any or all parts of positivebenefits. It is not possible to reduce an employee s pay below the National Minimum Wage (from October 2007, 5.52 per hour for employees aged 22 and older). We are introducing a pay protection limit of 6,600 a year ( 550 a month) to ensure that no employees are worse off financially under positivebenefits. The pay protection limit will be reviewed each year to take into account any changes to tax and/or National Insurance thresholds.
23 23 If your earnings currently, or in the future, fall below the pay protection limit or the National Minimum Wage, you will automatically be opted out of all or part of positivebenefits. For example, if you are already using the positivebenefits approach for childcare, and you would like to use positivecycling for a bike, the combination of these may take you below the pay protection limit. If this happened, you would automatically be opted out of positivepensions and potentially childcare to ensure that you would not be worse off financially. If your salary increases over the thresholds mentioned above, you will automatically be opted back into the parts of positivebenefits in which you have agreed to participate. 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 positivebenefits or not. If you require further information on this please visit HM Revenue & Customs website (HMRC) at positivepensions and positivecycling will not reduce the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. However, participating in childcare vouchers through positivechildcare may reduce tax credits. This will depend on your individual circumstances. For more information, visit HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website at: What happens if I have more than one contract of employment with the University? If you have more than one contract of employment, your basic salary for your multiple assignments will be taken into account. If you fall below the pay protection limit you will automatically be opted out. If you choose to opt out of any one of the parts of positivebenefits, this will apply to each and every assignment/post in the University. Members over State Pension Age do not pay any National Insurance and as a result will not make a National Insurance saving. However, you will continue to be included in positivebenefits (unless you choose to opt out) as the University will still make National Insurance savings.
24 24 What will my payslip look like? Example payslip before positivebenefits - Member earning 25,000 per year Cardiff University Mr C. A. Park AB123456A D 543L 03 Basic Pay PAYE NI D USS BACS
25 25 Example payslip after positivebenefits - Member earning 25,000 per year Cardiff University Mr C. A. Park AB123456A D 543L 04 Basic Pay PAYE PENS USS NI D BACS
26 26 What is a lifestyle event? Normally you can only make a decision to opt in or out of positivebenefits once a year at the annual enrolment 1 April each year. However there are certain situations that mean you will need to make changes at other times. These are referred to as lifestyle events. These lifestyle events include: Divorce or separation Birth or adoption of a child Death of a spouse/partner/dependant Start or return from maternity leave Start or return from long-term sick Significant change in personal financial circumstances (for example, your partner being made redundant). In addition, in the event of a change in your childcare circumstances, you can change your positivechildcare decision. For more information on making changes to positivechildcare please refer to Busy Bees or the Day Care Centre. What happens if I go on maternity/paternity/ adoption/parental leave? You will keep the same positivebenefits arrangements you have while you are on maternity/paternity/ adoption/parental leave, unless it is not beneficial to you. If there is any risk that you may be disadvantaged by being in positivebenefits whilst on leave, you will be automatically opted out until you return. When you advise the University of your intention to take maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave, your HR Manager will send you a letter explaining your options. What happens if I am entitled or may be entitled to Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit? The reduced cash salary paid to you (after the payment to any positivebenefits arrangements is deducted from your salary) is the figure used when calculating your entitlement to these credits. You should think about any impact on these credits before you participate in positivebenefits. What if I want to participate in more than one of the positivebenefits arrangements? If you wish to do so, the University will check that you will not be disadvantaged by taking part in more than one of the positivebenefits arrangements by checking if participation would take your pay below the pay protection limit or National Minimum Wage.
27 27 Have the pension schemes trustees and the Unions been consulted? Yes, the Trustees and the recognised Unions have been consulted regarding the introduction of positivebenefits. What happens to the savings made by the University? The savings made by the University will be used to support the sustainability of the University including energy conservation and Positive Working Environment initiatives which will have a direct or indirect impact on improving the working experience of staff. An annual report outlining the use of the savings will be produced. Will joining positivebenefits have any impact on my student loan repayments? Yes, it will reduce the amount of student loan repayments you make if your take home pay reduces. How long will positivebenefits last? The University plans to operate the three parts of positivebenefits indefinitely. However, if tax, National Insurance or pension law is changed or if the scheme is no longer viable for the University, we reserve the right to withdraw any part of positivebenefits and this would return you to your current position as regards to gross contractual salary. Can I find out more about positivebenefits? The University is holding a series of briefing sessions during June where you can find out more about the implementation of positivebenefits. Information on the briefing sessions will be announced in early June 2008.
28 28 Further information If you have any questions about positivebenefits, please visit: or contact: extension If you would like to see exactly how the switch to positivebenefits would affect your take home pay, you can use the positivebenefits modeller which can be found on the University s website. Simply follow the link from the website address above. Other useful resources Tax Credit Helpline For more information about whether this would affect your tax credits please call between 8am and 8pm. State Pension Advice Helpline Visit for more information, or you can call The Pension Service, Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm on Independent financial advice Visit IFA Promotion Ltd at or call
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