We all look forward to a decent retirement, making sure you’re signing up to your workplace pension scheme is important. If you have questions about your pension, get in touch with your GMB region.

Understanding your pension

Every employer now has to enrol their workers in a pension scheme that both the employer and employee contribute to. 

Some employers put the bare minimum in place, others have much more generous schemes which mean you get a better pension when you retire. 

GMB negotiates better pension deals on behalf of our members in the same way we negotiate on pay and rights in the workplace. 

Guides & News Bulletins

Briefing: what is a pension?

What’s a workplace pension scheme?

Every workplace has a pension scheme. That is basically a fund and set of rules that both the employer and employee pay into and abide by so that you have a pension when you retire. There are many different schemes that have different rules and where people pay in different amounts. 

You will automatically be enrolled onto a workplace scheme if: 

  • you’re classed as a ‘worker'
  • you’re aged between 22 and state pension age 
  • you earn at least £10,000 per year
  • you usually work in the UK 

There is a standard workplace pension scheme that some employers automatically enrol employees onto, you should check your contract and request details of your pension scheme from or your HR department if you are unsure of the details of your scheme. 

If your employer has not enrolled you in a scheme or will not provide you with the information you need, please get in touch with your GMB rep or region straight away.

What is auto-enrolment?

All employers now automatically add you to the workplace pension scheme, this is called auto-enrolment. 

Can I opt-out of my pension scheme?

You can opt out of your pension scheme at any time, but unless you really can’t afford to stay in GMB advises people to pay into some form of pension. You are contributing to your pension, but so is your employer. If your employer is putting in £30 per month for example, opting out means you’re saying you don’t want that money saving for you. 

You can opt out in writing to your employer if you wish to do so. 


How can I find out what scheme I am in?

Knowing what kind of scheme you’re on is important to calculating how much your pension is worth when you retire, your employer should provide you with details of the scheme, how much you will contribute and how much they will put in – this is usually expressed as a percentage so for example, you put in 3% of your salary and your employer puts in 5%. If this is not happening or you cannot get the information you need contact your GMB rep, region or Unionline.

I’m changing jobs, can I take my pension savings with me?

Don’t worry, you won’t lose any of your savings! But whether you can transfer it to a new scheme depends on what type of scheme you have joined. Contact your local GMB office for more advice.

When can I draw on my workplace pension?

It will depend on the terms of your pension scheme. It is typical for pensions to be available at 60 or 65 with some more generous schemes offering retirement at 55. 

Join us and become a GMB member today.
Join today!