Employer Pensions

An employer pension, often referred to as an occupational or workplace pension, is a retirement savings plan that is provided by an employer to its employees as a valuable employee benefit. It’s designed to help employees save for their retirement years, ensuring financial security after they stop working. Employer pensions can take various forms, each with its own features and benefits. Here’s an overview of how employer pensions work:

  1. Enrollment and Contributions: Many employer pensions operate on an automatic enrollment basis. This means that eligible employees are automatically enrolled in the pension plan, although they usually have the option to opt out. Both employees and employers typically make contributions to the pension fund. The contributions are deducted from the employee’s salary and often matched or supplemented by the employer.
  2. Types of Employer Pensions:
    • Defined Contribution (DC) Pension: In a defined contribution pension, the contributions made by both the employee and employer are invested in a range of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and funds. The eventual pension income depends on the performance of these investments. At retirement, the accumulated pension fund can be used to purchase an annuity or enter a drawdown arrangement to provide retirement income.
    • Defined Benefit (DB) Pension: In a defined benefit pension, the employer guarantees a specific retirement benefit based on factors such as salary and years of service. The employer takes on the investment and longevity risk, ensuring a fixed pension amount upon retirement.
  3. Vesting Period: Employees may need to fulfill a vesting period before they become eligible to receive the employer’s contributions. This encourages longer-term commitment to the company.
  4. Tax Advantages: Employer pension contributions often come with tax advantages. Contributions are usually made before taxes, reducing the employee’s taxable income and potentially lowering their tax liability.
  5. Investment Management: In a defined contribution plan, employees have the ability to manage their investments within the pension fund. They can typically choose from a range of investment options based on their risk tolerance and retirement goals.
  6. Portability: Many employer pensions are portable, allowing employees to take their pension savings with them if they change jobs. They can consolidate multiple pension pots from different employers into one, streamlining their retirement savings.
  7. Retirement Options: Similar to personal pensions, employees have various options for accessing their pension funds upon retirement. These options might include taking a lump sum, purchasing an annuity, or entering into a drawdown arrangement.
  8. Employee Contributions: While employer contributions are a key feature of these pensions, employees can often choose to contribute more to their pension if they wish, which can help them build a larger retirement fund.
  9. Pension consolidation advice is available. If you hold a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme or Defined Contribution pension with a guaranteed minimum pension or income, any advice you receive will be through a dedicated referral advice service and a specialist within our network.

It’s important for employees to fully understand the features and benefits of their employer pension scheme. Seeking guidance from the employer’s HR department or consulting a financial adviser can help employees make informed decisions about their retirement planning.


The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount invested. HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.