Occupational pensions, or work pensions, are pensions that you get through joining your employer's pension scheme. Some occupational pension schemes are salary-related, which means the amount you get will depend upon the number of years you have been a member of the scheme and your final earnings on retirement.
Other occupational pension schemes are run on a money purchase basis where the contributions are invested and used to buy a pension when you retire. The amount you will get from this type of pension scheme will depend upon the amount of money paid in and how well it has been invested. You will still get any State Second Pension that you built up before joining an occupational scheme and, depending on your earnings, it may still be possible for you to build up a small entitlement afterwards.
Should I join an occupational pension?
If your employer runs an occupational scheme, you should check it out to see if it is suitable for you and whether or not you are able to join it. You will usually get tax relief on the contributions you make and you will also get extra benefits, such as a pension to your husband or wife if you die or an early pension to you if you become ill and can no longer work.
How much will I need to contribute?
This will depend on the scheme your employer has chosen to provide. Most occupational pension schemes require you to make contributions but some, usually public sector schemes, require no employee contributions.
If you can afford it, you can also pay extra contributions to your pension scheme if you want to boost the amount of pension you get on retirement. You will also get tax relief on any extra contributions.
How can I track an old pension?
If you think you have paid into an occupational pension in the past, but you are not sure of the details, our Pension Tracing Service can usually help you trace it. Fill out a Pension Tracing Service online form, or call 0845 6002 537 (Textphone 0845 3000 169) Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm for help with tracing an old pension scheme.