The Old Benefits section has been closed to new joiners since 30 September 1996"

What is the Old Benefits section?

Old Benefits is closed to new members. It is a defined benefit pension arrangement under which benefits build up at the rate of 1/60th of your final pensionable salary for each year of pensionable service.

The Old Benefits section has been closed to new joiners since 30 September 1996.

Do I have to be a member?


Opting out

You can end your membership without leaving service, subject to at least two months' notice. To do so you will need to complete an opt-out form, which you can get by calling the pension service line.

Once you have opted out, you cease to build up benefits and become a life assurance member. This means your life cover for death in service reduces from four times your life cover pensionable salary together with the total of your own contributions paid to the Scheme with interest, to two times your life cover pensionable salary. In addition, if after opting out you have put your Old Benefits pension from the Scheme into payment, your life assurance benefits will be further reduced by the amount of any cash lump sum you took on retirement and any payment under the five year guarantee. You should read the note 'BBC Pension Scheme death in service provisions' for more information. The note is available from the pension service line.

Pension provision is an important element of your reward package. By opting out you will be giving up a valuable benefit. Before making such a decision, you should consider taking independent financial advice

Rejoining the Scheme

Having opted out, you will not be permitted to rejoin the Scheme as an Old Benefits member.  You will be able to join LifePlan - the BBC's defined contribution plan at any time in the future.

How much does it cost?

Benefits are paid for partly by you and partly by the BBC; details are set out below.

Your share of the cost

Currently you pay 7.5% of your pensionable salary. This can be varied if both the BBC and Trustees agree, although it cannot go above 7.5% without a change to the Scheme rules.

As an Old Benefits member your contributions will normally be met through salary sacrifice. This is called 'Smart Pensions'. Your basic salary is reduced, currently by 7.5%, and the BBC pays this amount to the Scheme. Because your basic salary is lower, you will usually pay lower National Insurance contributions.

The income tax you pay is unaffected by Smart Pensions. This is because PAYE income tax is always applied to earnings after any pension contributions have been deducted. For some members (e.g. those on low pay or receiving State benefits) Smart Pensions may be disadvantageous. If you are one of them, you will be excluded automatically and alternative arrangements will be made to collect your contributions. If you want to know more about Smart Pensions, there is a leaflet you can get by contacting the pension service line.

Employer contributions

In addition to whatever contributions they pay under Smart Pensions, the BBC and other participating employers pay contributions to cover the balance of the cost of providing your Scheme benefits, as agreed with the Trustees. In other words, your employer carries the risks associated with investments and with people generally living longer, which will affect the cost of providing the benefits you have built up.

Additional Voluntary Contributions

You can pay Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to boost your pension benefits. The Scheme's AVC arrangements, including the option to buy Added Years, are described in a separate booklet, available here.

You can also pay additional contributions to your own personal pension or to the BBC's defined contribution plan (LifePlan).