On 1 April 2012, the majority of the Isle of Man public sector pension schemes were brought together into one scheme – the Unified Scheme.
The Unified Scheme is a defined benefit pension scheme. Both you and the Isle of Man Government contribute money towards the retirement benefits you receive.
When you retire you will receive a pension (a regular retirement income) and an optional cash lump sum. There are also other benefits like ill health retirement.
You can read a more in-depth description of the scheme and its particulars further down the page.
Then Unified Scheme consists of 10 sections that provide for varying pension provisions and charge a range of contribution rates.
Standard Section 1
All new joiners to posts eligible for membership of the Isle of Man Government Unified Scheme 2011 can join Standard Section 1 only.
There are some exceptions, which are explained below.
Practitioner Members - Section 6
Practitioner Members are also permitted to join Section 6. Where this website refers to the Unified Scheme Guide, Practitioner members should also refer their Supplementary Guide.
Firefighters - Section 7
Firefighters are also permitted to join Section 7 and certain elements of their pension provisions are different to other sections of the Unified Scheme. Whilst a majority of the information on this website applies to all members, Fire Fighters should refer to their own Scheme Guide.
Members of Tynwald - Sections 8 and 8a
From September 2016 newly elected Tynwald Members are permitted to join Section 8 and re-elected Tynwald Members at that time, were permitted to join Section 8a.
Members of the Judiciary, Attorney General and Solicitor General - Section 9
From April 2020, all new joiners to the Judiciary and the Attorney and Solicitor Generals are eligible to join Section 9 or the Standard Section. Prior to this the Judiciary had a separate pension scheme (Judicial Pension Scheme 2004) which was closed to new members from April 2020.
When you retire you will receive a pension (e.g. a regular retirement income) and an optional cash lump sum. The amount you receive will be based on your pay and how long you have worked for the Isle of Man public sector. Unlike a bank account, your total savings aren’t calculated based on how much money you contribute.
Under the Unified Scheme you:
- choose your level of benefits
- can take up to 30% of the value of your pension in cash at retirement
- choose when you retire – generally between ages 55 and 75 (subject to agreement from your employer where necessary) and
- pay a contribution rate of 7.5% for the Standard section or a higher rate for your Protected section and
- receive protection for your family
The pension will be calculated on a final salary basis for most members. Some members will have special membership categories, so benefits and entitlements may be different.
How much you will contribute
How much you will pay in the Unified Scheme will depend on whether you joined the Standard section or your Protected section.
Everyone pays 7.5% for the Standard section.
If you opted for a Protected section you will pay between 9.1% and 12.25% of Pensionable Pay, depending on which section you joined.
Top up your savings
If you think you might need a bigger pension, you can top up your retirement savings with additional voluntary contributions using the Group Personal Pension Scheme from Aviva. With this scheme you pay what you can afford to at different times of your life.
To find out more, read the Group Personal Pension Scheme announcement.
Protection for your family
The Unified Scheme will provide you and your family with valuable protection, through:
- Ill health retirement – If you are too ill to work, you may be able to retire early and take your pension benefits
- Death in service benefits – If you die in service before you retire, the Unified Scheme will pay a cash lump sum to your beneficiary of three times your Pensionable Pay (or annual average earnings for CARE members). You can make a nomination for your beneficiary by completing the Lump Sum Nomination Form. Please note the Nomination for a Lump Sum is not the same as a Partner Nomination. The nomination for the lump sum only relates to the payment of the lump sum and not the payment of an adult’s pension to a unmarried partner
- Survivor pensions – The Unified Scheme will also pay a pension for your partner (spouse, civil or nominated) and dependant children on your death. If you are unmarried or in a civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner may receive a pension when you pass away. If you are living with your partner and you can satisfy certain conditions, you can nominate your partner so they can benefit from your pension after your death. You can nominate them to receive a survivor pension in the event of your death using the Unmarried Partner Nomination Form. More information can be found in the Scheme Member Guide. The PSPA will not make an award of a Survivor's Pension to your partner without a valid nomination form
- Death after retirement – A lump sum will be payable on death after retirement within the first five years of retirement. The Scheme Guide will tell you more about the entitlement and our Factsheet for the family of Deceased Pensioners gives information on what to do in the event of a pensioner’s death