Pension contributions and tax relief

Details of the contribution rates payable by members and employers in the NHS Pension Scheme and information on tax relief arrangements.

23 March 2023

The NHS Pension Scheme is financed by payments from the employer and current members who pay contributions at different tiers depending on their pay.

Employer contributions and administration levy

The employer contribution rate for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2024 is 20.6 per cent of pensionable pay for both the 1995-2008 Scheme and the 2015 Scheme.

The employer contribution rate is set through a process known as the scheme valuation. A scheme valuation is carried out every four years and it measures the full cost of paying pension benefits (to current pensioners). The most recent 2016 scheme valuation identified the need to increase the employer contribution from 14.3 per cent to 20.6 per cent from 1 April 2019.

Employers are required to pay a scheme administration levy, in addition to the employer contribution rate, to cover the cost of the scheme administration. This levy is 0.08 per cent of pensionable pay and will be collected at the same time and in the same way as normal employer contributions. In practical terms, this means employers will pay 20.68 per cent of pensionable pay.

For the 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24 scheme years, employers are responsible for paying 14.38 per cent of contributions, with the remaining 6.3 per cent being funded centrally.

Member contributions

A contribution structure is in place to determine the percentage of pensionable pay that members are required to pay into the NHS Pension Scheme, based on their pensionable earnings. A new member contribution structure came into effect on 1 October 2022, replacing the old structure that had been in place since 1 April 2015.  

From 1 October 2022, three key changes were made:

  • Member rates are determined using actual pensionable pay earned in the previous scheme year, instead of whole-time equivalent pay.
  • The new contribution structure will mean that many members will pay a different rate to what they previously paid in the old structure.
  • Going forward, the thresholds for each tier will be increased in line with the Agenda for Change pay award, which will reduce the likelihood of a member moving to a higher contribution tier as a direct result of a national pay award.

The key messages to communicate to staff about the changes from 1 October 2022 can be found on our dedicated web page.

Member contribution rates

New member contribution structure
Pensionable pay

Phase 1

Contribution rate from 1 October 2022 based on actual pensionable pay

Phase 2

Contribution rate based on actual pensionable pay

Up to £13,246 5.1% 5.2%
£13,247 to £16,831 5.7% 6.5%
£16,832 to £22,878 6.1% 6.5%
£22,879 to £23,948 6.8% 6.5%
£23,949 to £28,223 7.7% 8.3%
£28,224 to £29,197 8.8% 8.3%
£29,180 to £43,805 9.8% 9.8%
£43,806 to £49,245 10% 10.7%
£49,246 to £56,163 11.6% 10.7%
£56,164 to £72,030 12.5% 12.5%
£72,031 and above 13.5% 12.5%

This table of current and future member contribution rates is available to download as a poster for you to share with staff.

Tax relief

NHS Pension Scheme members will receive tax relief on their pension contributions up to a certain amount. This is because contributions are taken from pay before tax is taken off, therefore contributions reduce the amount of pay subject to tax.

The tax relief available for pension savings is subject to a certain limit known as the annual allowance, which is a restriction put in place by HMRC. You can find out more about this on our annual allowance web page.