50/50 Section

With the introduction of the new pension scheme in 2014, there are now 2 sections within that scheme: The main section and the 50/50 section.

The 50/50 section allows a member to pay half the contribution rate of the main section, and build up half the amount of member’s pension that they would have built in the main section. This means that the accrual (or build up rate) is 1/98th of pensionable pay for each year in the 50/50 section. There is no effect on any dependants benefits that may become payable.

The 50/50 section is not intended to replace long term membership of the scheme and although there are a lot of limitations and “do’s and don’ts” around it covered by legislation, there is no limit to the number of times a scheme member can move from the main section to the 50/50 section, and back again.

All new eligible employees must be contractually enrolled into the main section of the 2014 Scheme upon commencement of employment. They can then subsequently elect to move to the 50/50 section by completing the relevant form, and if the form is received by the payroll team before the payroll closes, they can be in the 50/50 section from the first day of their employment

Optant outs electing to re-join the pension scheme and those being automatically enrolled or re-enrolled under the provisions of the Pensions Act 2008 must also be placed in the main section.

An employee with one job, who commences a further, concurrent job, must be placed in the main section in the new job also.

A member can move to the 50/50 section by completing the relevant form obtainable from the pension website.

The reduced 50/50 contribution would apply from the beginning of the next available pay period after the form is received by the payroll team.

Implications of you moving to the 50/50 section

The scheme member gets half the member’s pension they would otherwise buy but all other retirement benefits such as dependant’s benefits and ill health retirement remain the same as if they were in the main section.


  • If you die in service, the lump sum death grant will be calculated as if you were in the main section of the
  • If you retire with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 ill health pension, the amount of ill health enhancement granted will be calculated as if you were in the main section of the Scheme
  • The accrual (or build up) rate is 1/98th of your pensionable pay each year, rather than 1/49th
  • You commence paying the reduced contribution from the beginning of the next available pay period, unless the form is received before the payroll is closed for that month
  • You revert to the full section at Automatic re-enrolment time, and the election to pay 50/50 is lost if at any time you move into “no pay” such as your sick pay expires

Regardless of the section you are in, you get full life cover and full ill health cover, meaning that full benefits will be paid out in these events.

The Do’s and Can’s:

You can move from the main section to the 50/50 (and vice versa) as many times as you wish. Can still be in the 50/50 section during reserved forces leave

Keep in Touch (KIT) days – still pay the 50/50 % rate, on the pay you received for that day

If you have more than 1 job and so have more than 1 pension record, you can move to the 50/50 section on any or all of your pension records

The Dont's and Cant's:

You cannot buy additional pension if in the 50/50 section.
If you are already paying APCs to buy additional pension other than to buy “lost pension”, the additional contributions must cease at the same time that the election to move to the 50/50 section is made. However, any AVCs being paid can continue to be paid at the full amount.

You cannot elect to pay into the 50/50 section prior to starting work (exactly the same as not being able to opt out altogether before starting work)

You cannot opt to pay into the 50/50 section prior to being enrolled under automatic enrolment.

For those staff opting into the scheme, you cannot elect for the 50/50 section prior to opting in.

Your Employer cannot ask you, or force you to join the 50/50 section. If they do ask or force you to join this section, you can inform the Pensions Regulator. 

Impact of the 50/50 section on your employers contributions

The employer contributions are not halved and remain payable in full, with the impact accounted for at the next triennial valuation.

50/50 election lapses

You will be enrolled back into the main section:

  • At the automatic re-enrolment date, even if opting into the 50/50 section was made in the previous 12
  • When on “no pay” as a result of sickness or injury. However, a further election form can be completed at that time, for the period of “no pay”.

Upon return to work – you would have to complete a further 50/50 election form if you have not already done so and assuming you still want to be in that section

Bandings and contribution percentages for the main and 50/50 section - April 2019

Band Range

Main section contribution rate

50/50 section contribution rate

Actual Pensionable pay

Gross % rate

Gross % rate

£0         - £14,400



£14,401 - £22,500



£22,501 - £36,500



£36,501 - £46,200



£46,201 - £64,600



£64,601 - £91,500



£91,501 - £107,700



£107,701 - £161,500



£161,501 or more



Please note: this is intended as a broad guide to your benefits in the local Government Pension Scheme. It does not seek to cater for every different circumstance and no decisions should be taken based on its contents. You are strongly advised to consult our website and/or contact us for more detailed and individual information before taking any action in relation to your pension. Nothing in this page overrides the regulations which govern the LGPS and which are subject to amendment from time to time.