NHS pension contribution rates

A summary of contribution rates to your pension from you as an employee and your employer.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Last reviewed: 7 September 2020
Piggybank illustration

Employer contribution rates

  • England and Wales is 20.6%
  • Northern Ireland is 16.3%
  • Scotland is 20.9%


Tier Whole time pensionable pay Current contribution rates
1 Up to £15,431.99 5%
2 £15.432 to £21,477.99 5.6%
3 £21,478 to £26,823.99 7.1%
4 £26,824 to £47,845.99 9.3%
5 £47,846 to £70,630.99 12.5%
6 £70,631 to £111,376.99 13.5%
7 £111,377 and over 14.5%

Pension contributions and tax

Pension scheme contributions are net of tax; therefore the true cost of the contributions is lower than the gross rates quoted above.

For higher rate tax payers, contributions at the rate of 12.5% would equate to a net 7.5%, contributions at the rate of 13.5% would equate to a net 8.1% and contributions at the rate of 14.5% would equate to a net 8.7%.


Part-time doctors

Part-time doctors are allocated to a tier based on their whole-time equivalent pay (apart from GPs, for whom there is no concept of whole-time equivalent). This may seem unfair at first reading.

The main legislation that governs the treatment of part-time workers is the Part-time workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

This states that "A part-time worker has the right not to be treated by his employer less favourably than the employer treats a comparable full-time worker". 

Let's consider two doctors

Dr x Dr Y
Earns £120,000 a year Earns £60,000 a year
Works full-time Works part-time

Both would be allocated to tier 7 (14.5% contribution rate). 

The reason for this is that Dr X is a 'comparable full-time worker' for the purposes of the regulations.

The remuneration of Dr Y is the same, for each hour worked, as it for Dr X thus there is no less favourable treatment.

If Dr Y were to be subject to a lower contribution rate (for example if actual pay was used and they paid 12.5%) then they would be being better remunerated per hour that their full-time equivalent colleague.