USS is now under attack

  • The employers want to end guaranteed pension benefits.
  • They say your final pension should depend on how your 'investments' perform and not on your contributions.
  • We say it's wrong to risk our members' futures.

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Absence from service

Members of these schemes can normally take unpaid breaks from work and protect their pension rights.

In TP if a member leaves lecturing they can only purchase Additional Pension Benefits to increase their annual pension, if they return at a later stage.

In USS, provided that there is an intention to return to their employment. Members may arrange with their employers either to continue fully in pensionable service during their absence or, more cheaply, to maintain death benefits but without the period of absence counting for pension.

Table: Absence from service


Teachers' Pension Scheme

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Maximum length of absence for which contributions may be made


Ten years or more, if member is seconded to another employer or in full-time education connected with their employment. More than one year for any other reason must be agreed by USS Ltd



USS employer responsible for payment of full amounts of employer's and employee's contributions. Member must normally reimburse employer for at least the employee's share.

If a member has an Additional Benefit contract they should also make arrangements for this to be paid or the contract will cease.


Additional pension benefit can be purchased by members on their return to work which is additional money on top of their annual pension only.

Member can pay a reduced contribution to cover in case of death or ill health. If member does not then the death benefits may not be available during the absence.

Further information

Family leave

Taking a leave of absence (pdf)


Last updated: 4 April 2019