This section is aimed at employees of Unilever who are active members of the Unilever UK Pension Fund.
Thinking of taking your Unilever pension in the next 12 months? Find out what steps to take, using the Retirement Roadmap.
This section is aimed at employees of Unilever who are active members of the Unilever UK Pension Fund (referred to throughout as the "Fund"). The aim of this section is to give you enough information to make the best decisions for you in the Fund.
Don't forget that the Unilever UK Pension Fund website is full of useful information about the Fund (www.uukpf.co.uk).
Every year you have the opportunity to make choices about your pension with Unilever - for example, the contribution rate you wish to pay into the Investing Plan. This is called “annual renewal”. The annual renewal pack sent to you in July each year will give you information about your choices and the forms you need to fill in if you would like to make any changes to your choices.
As you are an active member there are two parts of the Fund that you can join - The Career average plan and the Investing plan. Both of these are summarised below.
The Career average plan
If you are an active member, you are automatically a member of the Career average plan:
The pension you build up in the Career average plan each year is based on a formula.
Your pension is based on your pensionable earnings between two levels and the pensionable service you build up in the Fund.
Your pension is then protected against inflation.
Inflation is the general rise in prices, normally measured by the 'Retail Prices Index' - a figure taken from measuring how costs increase across a range of goods and services.
You pay 5% of your pensionable earnings between the two levels into the Plan – and you do not pay income tax on the contributions you make.
Your pension is usually paid from age 65 – but you may have the option of retiring early or late.
The Fund gives valuable protection for you and your family/dependents if you were to die before you retire, or if you became too ill to work.
You can get more information on the Career average plan from the Unilever Pension Fund website:
1/60 x Pensionable Earnings between two levels (£6,477 and £60,500 at 1 April 2018)
Katy earns £25,677 pa
So her Career average plan pension built up between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 is worked out as:
1/60 x £19,200 (her pensionable earnings between £6,477 and £60,500) = £320 a year
If Katy stays working for Unilever, this will increase up to retirement in line with inflation up to 5% a year. It will then be paid every year until she dies.
Next year, Katy's pensionable earnings increase to £26,530 pa (and the two levels also increase). She will then build up a pension between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 worked out as:
1/60 x £19,860 (estimated earnings between next year's levels) = £331 a year
Her pension built up between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 will be increased in line with inflation up to 5% a year. And if Katy stays working for Unilever, the pension earned in both years will increase up to retirement in line with inflation up to 5% a year. It will then be paid every year until she dies.
The Investing plan
If you are an active member, you can choose to join the Investing plan to provide extra benefits on top of your Career average plan benefits:
The Investing plan is a "defined contribution" arrangement.
The types of contributions that can be paid into the account are:
Extra voluntary contributions on top of your normal contribution rate;
The contributions Unilever pays to match your extra voluntary contributions (up to a limit); and
You can pay whatever you want as Extra Voluntary Contributions into the Investing plan and you do not pay income tax on your contributions (up to limits set by HMRC).
Tax allowances - HM Revenue & Customs apply two allowances to your contributions and benefits. If you go over them, you must pay a tax charge on the excess. The lifetime allowance is the total amount of tax approved or "registered" pension scheme retirement benefits you can build up over your working life. It is currently £1.03 million with effect 6 April 2018. The annual allowance is the amount of registered pension savings you can make each year (over a 12 month period - known as the "pension input period"). It is currently £40,000 for pension input periods ending in the 2018/19 tax year.
Unilever will match your contributions to the Investing plan, up to 2% of your matched contribution salary.
Your matched contribution salary is the lower of your pensionable earnings and a certain limit which is reviewed annually, currently £55,000 if you work full time.
If you have pensionable earnings above the upper level covered by the Career average plan (£60,500 at 1 April 2018), then Unilever will pay up to 12.5% of your earnings above £60,500 into the Investing plan.
You build up a "pot" of money in your own Investing plan account with your contributions, any contributions from Unilever, and any investment returns.
You decide how much is paid into your Investing plan account and how you want the money in the account to be invested.
You then decide what benefits to take from your account when you retire from the Unilever UK Pension Fund.
You can get more information on the Investing Plan from the Unilever Pension Fund website:
When you approach retirement, the Unilever Pensions Team will contact you (or if you want to retire early, you may need to contact the Team yourself) and tell you what your options are. Generally you will be able to choose whether to:
Take some (or maybe all) of your account as a tax free cash sum
Use some (or maybe all) to buy an extra bit of pension
More information on your options is set out on the Unilever Pension Fund website:
If you choose to pay Extra Voluntary Contrubutions you will pay one of two types:
Matched contributions - Matched Extra Voluntary Contributions are those that are matched by Unilever (ie up to 2% of your matched contribution salary). So whatever you pay in Matched Contributions will effectively be doubled in the Investing plan.
Unmatched contributions - Unmatched Extra Voluntary Contributions are simply those that are not matched by Unilever (in other words anything over 2% of your matched contribution salary).
Once you have decided whether to pay Extra Voluntary Contributions - either matched or unmatched - you can choose to pay them in one of two ways:
Fixed Term - If you pay Extra Voluntary Contributions on a Fixed Term basis, you will pay them through the Unilever Contribution Arrangement. You must agree to pay Fixed Term contributions for at least 12 months - starting from 1 October in each year.
Variable - If you pay Extra Voluntary Contributions on a Variable basis, you do not have to agree to pay them for 12 months, and you can pay one off lump sums, or vary the amount you pay as often as you want. As with all contributions to the Unilever UK Pension Fund, you will not pay income tax on these contributions, but you will not save the National Insurance contributions that you would save if you paid on a Fixed Term basis.
This is only a summary. For details of Extra Voluntary Contributions, refer to the Investing plan guide.
You can find an online retirement planning modeller on the Unilever Pension Fund website (www.uukpf.co.uk) that will help you to look at the pension you have built up already and the pension you could build up in the future in the Fund.