• What is auto enrolment?
  • Auto enrolment is a legal requirement for employers to provide staff with a workplace pension.

    MRC had a staging date of 1 July 2013 and from that date had to enrol all new staff in the MRC Pension Scheme. UKRI is also subject to the legal obligation of auto enrolment.

  • Is membership of a workplace pension scheme compulsory?
  • Eligible staff are automatically enrolled into a workplace pension arrangement, but it is not compulsory to stay in the Scheme.

    Nevertheless, your employer must not ask you or encourage you to leave the Scheme.

  • When can I opt out of the MRC Pension Scheme?
  • You can opt out during the first three months and be treated as if you had never joined the Scheme.

  • Are there other times I can opt out?
  • You can opt out of the Scheme at any time, but you should have very good reasons and take financial advice before doing this.

  • Where can I get financial advice?
  • There is a website at www.moneyhelper.org.uk that can offer guidance on obtaining financial and legal advice.

  • What happens if I opt out within two years of joining the MRC Scheme?
  • You will be entitled to a refund of your contributions, less tax.

  • What happens to the employer contributions that were made for me?
  • These will remain within the Scheme and be used for the benefit of the other members.

  • Can I take a transfer value instead of a refund?
  • You can transfer your benefits to another pension arrangement, but must elect to do so within three months of opting out. Otherwise, you will receive a refund.

  • What happens if I opt out of the Scheme with more than two years’ service?
  • If that happens, you will be entitled to a deferred pension.

  • What happens to the death in service lump sum if I opt out?
  • Active members in the Scheme are covered for four times pensionable salary by way of death in service lump sum. Members who have opted out are covered for five times the deferred pension only.

  • What happens to the pension payable to my partner if I die in service after opting out?
  • This will be less than for active members and based on 40% of your deferred pension only.

  • Is opting out of the Scheme irrevocable?
  • You can rejoin the Scheme subject to the agreement of MRC and will be re-enrolled in a workplace pension approximately every three years. There is no guarantee you will be re-enrolled in the MRC Scheme.

  • If I opt out and am eligible to rejoin, what happens to my previous pension?
  • The two periods can be kept separate or linked together when you retire, but your service will not be treated as continuous as the period during which you were out of the Scheme will be excluded.

  • If I opt out and the Scheme has changed in the meantime, will I be able to rejoin on the original terms?
  • No – you will only be able to rejoin on the current terms available.

  • Will MRC compensate me if I decide to opt out?
  • No – MRC has invested considerable sums of money in the Scheme for the benefit of staff and their families in retirement.

  • I am thinking about opting out because of financial hardship. Are there other options open to me?
  • Although the Scheme is contributory, opting out is considered to be a false economy as the net cost of membership is around 5.2%.

    Health Assured offers MRC staff a confidential helpline service as part of the employee assistance programme on 0800 783 0208.

    Means tested financial assistance may be available from the MRC Staff Benevolent Fund www.sbfa.mrc.ac.uk.

  • Who should I contact if I have any further questions about the MRC Pension Scheme?
  • You should contact Mercer at contact.mercer.com.