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Joining the Pension Scheme

Choose your scheme

When joining the Isle of Man government you may have two options to choose from, you can either join a Defined Benefit (DB) or Defined Contribution (DC) scheme. The main difference between the two types of pension schemes is how your benefits are calculated when you come to retirement.

In a DB (such as the Unified Scheme, Teachers 2011 or Police 2010 schemes) the amount you get is based on how long you have contributed to the scheme, your pensionable pay at retirement and an annual growth rate. The benefits under a DB scheme are specified by scheme rules and once in payment are guaranteed and protected against inflation.

In contrast, a DC is scheme where the pension provider invests your contributions on your behalf. The benefits are based on how much you contribute and the performance of the investments your provider has made. The benefits under a DC scheme are not guaranteed and the value of the fund can fluctuate both up and down.

For further information on the differences between the two types of scheme please see the Comparison of a Defined Benefit and Defined Contributions Scheme.


The DB schemes are open to all employees in a pensionable role, not in receipt of a public sector pension listed below. In contrast, the DC arrangement has very strict eligibility criteria.

The DC arrangement is open to public sector employees, whose employers wish to offer the DC arrangement, are new to the public sector and are not in receipt of one of the public sector pensions listed below.

A 'new' employee must meet the below criteria to qualify for the DC arrangement:

  1. The employment is pensionable (this  means the Employer has agreed that the post is eligible for membership of a public sector pension scheme and the Employer will pay a contribution up to 15% of your pensionable pay towards your pension)

  2. The individual is not currently employed as a public sector employee in another pensionable employment regardless of whether they chose to opt out of the scheme or not**

  3. If previously employed, they have had a break of employment of 31 days or more

  4. The individual is not a pensioner member of a public sector pension scheme that is managed by the PSPA. Local Government and IOM Post Office schemes are excluded

**Employees who take up an additional post who have already had the choice of DC Arrangement or DB Scheme will not be eligible for the same choice again. Any subsequent additional pensionable post will be covered by whatever pension saving option the employee chose at outset.

You may not join the DB scheme or the DC arrangement if you are in receipt of one of the following public sector pensions:

  • Isle of Man Government Unified Scheme 2011
  • Judicial Pension Scheme 2004
  • Judicial Pension Scheme 1992
  • Teachers Superannuation Order 2011
  • Police Pension Regulations 1991
  • Police Pension Regulations 2010
  • The Superannuation (Manual Workers) (No1) Scheme 1973  

When you join the IOM government, you will be automatically enrolled in one of our DB schemes, and will be offered the option of joining the DC arrangement if you are eligible. It is your responsibility to inform your employer that you wish to join the DC arrangement within two months of starting employment.

Joining the DC Arrangement

If you are eligible to join the DC arrangement, your employer will ask you to express your interest in joining the DC Arrangement. This is done by completing and returning the IFA referral form included in your employment offer documents. 

Once completed, you will be referred to MAC financial to take advice and must decide within 2 months of starting employment. Should you wish to join the DC arrangement, MAC financial will support your throughout the process of contracting with Aviva and advise your employer. You will be removed from the DB scheme and your contributions will be refunded.

To learn more about the DC arrangement please visit our webpage dedicated to the Defined Contribution Arrangement.

Joining the DB Schemes

If your employment is eligible for a public sector pension scheme, you will be automatically enrolled in one of our DB schemes. If you do not express interest in joining the DC arrangement, you will remain in the DB scheme relevant to your employment. You are able to opt out using the relevant opt out form.

Unified Scheme Opt Out Form

Police Pension Regulations 2010 Opt Out Form

Teachers’ Superannuation Order 2011 Opt Out Form

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