What is a public sector pension?

A public sector pension is a workplace pension for public sector employees, for example teachers, NHS workers and civil servants. Many public sector pensions are defined benefit pensions, and some of them are unfunded.

If you work in the public sector or you’ve worked in the public sector in the past, you may have a public sector pension. Like all workplace pensions, your public sector pension is set up by your employer and contributions are usually taken from your salary before you’re paid.

Defined benefit pensions

Many public sector pensions are defined benefit pensions, which means the amount they’re worth on retirement is based on your final salary and the length of your employment rather than the amount you’ve paid into the pension.

Some public sector pension schemes (for example the Local Government Pension Scheme) are funded, but many public sector pensions (including the NHS, teacher and civil service pension schemes) are unfunded defined benefit pensions. This means that they pay retirement incomes from the employer’s current income - tax revenue in the case of the public sector - rather than setting assets aside to pay for pensions.

Moving a public sector pension

If you have an unfunded public sector pension, as of April 2015 you’re not allowed to move it to another pension scheme. If you’re not sure whether your pension is funded or unfunded, contact your employer or visit the website of your employer’s pension scheme.

If you have a funded public sector pension, you may be able to move it. However, you must get financial advice before moving a defined benefit pension that’s worth over £30,000.

About PensionBee

PensionBee combines and transfers your existing pensions into a brand new plan that you can easily manage online. If you’ve got a pension that can’t be moved, like an unfunded public sector pension, you can leave this one where it is. Find out more about PensionBee’s vision or sign up to PensionBee now.

Risk warning

As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.

Last edited: 07-07-2021

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