You can choose to pay Extra Voluntary Contributions to the Investing plan to build up additional pension benefits for your retirement.
You can pay Extra Voluntary Contributions regularly or you can make stand alone contributions from time to time.
If you choose to make these contributions regularly you have the following choices:
First, you should choose whether or not you would like to make matched contributions of up to 2% of your matched contribution salary. Unilever will regularly match these contributions and pay an equal amount into your Investing plan account. Please note, you cannot make matched contributions if:
You have reached maximum pensionable service or
You choose to take any of the Unilever 12.5% contribution as cash.
If you would like to pay more to your account, you can also make contributions above the maximum matched contributions if you want to. Unilever does not regularly pay in an amount equal to these, so they are called unmatched contributions.
You must then choose whether your Extra Voluntary Contributions – matched or unmatched – should be fixed term or variable.
Fixed term - Extra Voluntary Contributions are made through the Unilever Contribution Arrangement. This means you save on National Insurance contributions as well as tax, and Unilever also currently passes on some or all of its National Insurance saving into your account. However you must commit to the same rate of fixed-term Extra Voluntary Contributions for at least 12 months, and you can only change or stop them on 1 October each year.
Variable - Extra Voluntary Contributions are made outside the Unilever Contribution Arrangement. As a result, tax relief still applies to them but there is no National Insurance contribution saving (or benefit from Unilever passing on any of its National Insurance saving). However, they are more flexible – within limits you can more or less pay the amount you want, when you want.
You can choose for each of your contribution types to be made in different ways if you want to. For example, your matched contributions can be fixed term and your unmatched contributions can be variable.
Remember, you can start to make regular Extra Voluntary Contributions at any time. However, you can only reduce or stop fixed term Extra Voluntary Contributions each October.
If you want to change the amount of Extra Voluntary Contributions you are paying, or to start making Extra Voluntary Contributions please contact the Unilever Pensions Team. You can choose:
The level of regular Matched contributions you want to make – 1% or 2% of your matched contribution salary.
Whether you want this new level of Matched contributions to be fixed-term or variable.
The level of any regular Unmatched contributions you want to make – as a % of your pensionable earnings (remember that you should normally choose 2% matching contributions before choosing to pay any unmatched contributions).
Whether you want your Unmatched contributions to be fixed-term or variable.
Whether you want to make a stand alone contribution (either as well as or instead of regular Extra Voluntary Contributions).
Whether you want to stop paying Extra Voluntary Contributions.
The standard Career average plan contribution rate is 5% of your pensionable earnings between the two levels. Any pension you build up from 1 July 2012 whilst contributing at this rate will increase in payment in line with inflation up to 3% a year.
You have the option to choose a contribution rate of 10.3% instead. Any pension you build up while contributing at this rate will increase in payment in line with inflation up to 5% a year.
You could consider the extra 5.3% contribution as a type of “insurance premium” to protect your pension against the chance that inflation is greater than 3% in any year while you are receiving your pension. However, just like with any insurance, there is a chance that you will not need to be protected if inflation does not go above 3%.
For example, if inflation was 4%, say, in a year while you are receiving your pension, you would receive:
A 3% increase on any pension you built up from 1 July 2012 on the 5% contribution rate
The full 4% increase on any pension you built up on the 10.3% contribution rate.
The following chart shows you what inflation (measured by the increase in the Retail Prices Index) has been in the past:
The green line shows the level of protection that the Fund already provides for you.
The red line shows the maximum additional level of protection that you would have had in each of the years shown, for any parts of your pension built up while you were paying extra contributions.
The Blue bars show what actual inflation was in each of these years. Where the blue bar is between the green and red lines, this means that you would have received a bigger increase in that year on any pension that built up while you were paying extra contributions. Where the blue bar is above the red line, you would have received an increase of 5% on any pension that built up while you were paying extra contributions, but this would still not have been as big as the inflation increase.
This is all hypothetical – because you couldn’t build up benefits in the Fund in this way during those years, but this is to show you what could have happened!
But remember - past inflation is no indication of what inflation will be in the future. Unilever normally reviews the cost of this additional protection (currently 5.3% of pensionable earnings) every 3 years, so the next date it may change is 1 April 2021. If you decide to move to the higher contribution rate, your contribution will normally be taken from your salary in the same way as your standard Career average plan contributions from the next 1 April. Currently, if you are on the higher rate, you will be able to ‘opt out’ of it and go back to the lower rate at each annual renewal. (Previously, you had to commit to it for three years.)
Remember: if you are thinking of paying more towards your pension, contributing more to receive potentially higher increases to your pension in payment is just one of your options. You may also want to consider using that money towards extra voluntary contributions to the Investing Plan.
If you want to start paying extra contributions for Additional Inflation Protection, please contact the Unilever Pensions Team:
You will start to pay 10.3% contributions from the next 1 April.
You will have to agree to stay at this contribution rate until the next annual renewal.
The standard level of life cover payable from the Career average plan if you die in pensionable service is a cash sum of 4 times your pensionable earnings at the date you die.
You currently have the option to pay more for extra life cover of up to a total of 8 times your pensionable earnings. (Remember that life cover is based on your total pensionable earnings, ignoring the two levels.)
If you sign up for extra life cover, it must be for at least 12 months. As long as you have stayed at the same level for that length of time, you can then change your level once a year in October. If you are already paying towards a higher level of life cover than 4 times your pensionable earnings, you have the option to change down as well as up.
Before increasing your cover, you must confirm that you are in good health by answering some medial questions on the Extra Life Cover choices form. If you answer yes to any of the questions you cannot increase your cover this time round. You do not have to answer the questions if you want to decrease your level of cover.
The annual renewal form also lists the costs of levels of life cover above the standard level. the costs are shown as percentages of your pensionable earnings (ignoring the two levels) and vary according to your age at 1 October. so this means that if you stay on the same level of cover from year to year, the cost will actually go up. the costs are reviewed from time to time and may change in the future and we will let you know if this is the case.
If you want to change the amount of Extra Life Cover you are paying for, use the annual renewal form provided in your Renewal Pack to:
Choose the level of Extra Life Cover (on top of the standard 4 times life cover) you would like (whole multiples of pensionable earnings only).
Confirm if you wish to stop paying for your existing level of Extra Life Cover and revert to the standard level of 4 times total pensionable earnings.
If you want to increase your level of cover, answer 3 simple questions about your health.
For more information on how to change your Life cover, please contact the Unilever Pensions Team at:
If your pensionable earnings at 1 April 2021 were above the higher level (£63,800) Unilever provides an additional contribution of 12.5% of your pensionable earnings above this level because this part of your pensionable earnings is not covered by the Career Average Plan.
If this applies to you, you can choose to receive this amount as:
A contribution into your Investing plan account (if you do not already have an account, we will set one up for you);
A cash payment with your salary (less deductions to take into account tax and National Insurance contributions); or
A combination of the two.
You can only change how you receive the contribution once a year during the annual renewal, so that your new choice takes effect from 1 October.
When you make this choice, you should also bear in mind the annual allowance.
Please note that if you choose to take any part of the 12.5% contribution as a cash payment with your salary, you will not be able to take advantage of matched contributions into the Investing plan. In this case any Extra Voluntary Contributions you make to the Investing plan will not be matched.
If you choose to receive the 12.5% contribution as a contribution into the Investing plan, it will be invested in line with your existing fund choices. (If this annual renewal is the first time you will have an Investing plan account, it will be invested in a default fund at first.) For more information on the Investing plan fund choices, see the Investing plan guide
The Annual renewal is your opportunity to make changes to some of the choices you have made about your pension in the Unilever UK Pension Fund
You will receive your Unilever Pension Annual Renewal pack in July each year.
In your pack you will have:
A benefit statement showing details of the pension you have built up in the Unilever UK Pension Fund to the previous 1 April each year.
Details of all the choices that you can make
Forms to complete if you would like to change any of your choices from last year.
All of these documents can be requested from the Unilever Pensions Team, you can find their contact details here.
Your details in the Career average plan:
When you joined the Plan
Your Pensionable Earnings between the two levels
Your Pensionable Earnings ignoring the two levels
Your estimated pension from the Career average plan at each 1 April
Your details in the Final salary plan:
(if you were a member before 1 July 2012)
When you joined the Final salary plan
Your last 12 months capped final salary pensionable salary
Your estimated pension from the Final salary plan at each 1 April
The ages at which you can receive certain bits of your Final salary plan pension unreduced
Your details in the Investing plan:
(if you have benefits in the Investing plan)
The value of your Investing plan account at 31 March.
The percentage and annual amount of Matched and Unmatched Extra Voluntary Contributions you are currently paying – split between those being paid on a Fixed Term basis, and those being paid on a Variable basis.
If you earn over the Career average plan higher level, the benefit statement will also show how much of the Unilever additional contribution of 12.5%, you are taking as a contribution to the Investing plan.
If you are happy with your current choices you do not need to take any action during the annual renewal. Your current choices will remain in place. So:
Extra Voluntary Contributions – the level you are paying now will continue.
Extra life cover – your current level of cover will stay in place.
Additional inflation protection – your current contribution rate will not change.
Unilever 12.5% contribution (if this applies to you) – you will go on receiving this contribution in the way you chose before, either as an Investing plan contribution or as cash, or as a mix of the two.
If you want to change any of your current choices you must complete and return the relevant form included in your renewal pack so that the pensions team receives it by the deadline shown in your annual renewal pack.
After you have read the information in your Annual Renewal pack, you can get more information by: