1. Eligibility

2. Age and Membership Limits

3. Types of Membership

            3.1 Qualifying Membership

            3.2 Reckonable Membership

            3.3 Contributing Membership

            3.4 Non Contributing Membership

            3.5 Whole Time Membership

            3.6 Part Time Membership


1. Eligibility

Employers have a statutory responsibility to inform employees about scheme benefits. If employers are approached by employees seeking financial advice on the various options open to them, they should be informed that neither they nor SPPA can give such advice and that they should contact an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).

Each eligible employee must decide whether to remain in the scheme or not. To ensure employees make an informed decision, it is the employer's responsibility and legal obligation to ensure that all employees have access to the STSS Members Guide which can be found on SPPA's website.

Before reaching a decision on membership of the scheme, employees should consider carefully the full package of benefits and relative cost.

Each eligible teacher on commencement of pensionable employment will be included in the scheme automatically, unless they have made an election not to join.

Members may choose to 'Opt Out' of the scheme at any time and should do so by completing form STSS: (OPT OUT).

If employees decide not to participate in the scheme, they can at any time join the scheme at a later date. To do this they should complete form STSS (OPT IN).

There is no restriction on the number of occasions a member may opt in or out of the scheme, however, members must be aware that by opting out they are electing to opt out of the scheme not just that employment.

2. Age and Membership Limits

A person may join the scheme if they are over the age of 16 and under the age of 75. A member is considered to be a member of the scheme unless they are on nil pay, at this point they are deemed to no longer be in pensionable employment and are not a contributing member of the scheme.


What is Membership?

Membership is the length of time a member has contributed to the scheme. It is used in the calculation of benefits and for determining eligibility to benefits. In order to qualify for scheme benefits members have to accrue a certain amount of membership. All whole time contributing membership counts at full calendar length towards qualifying and reckonable membership. 

All contributing part time membership counts at full calendar length towards qualifying membership but is converted to the whole time equivalent for reckonable membership.


Maximum Membership and Age Restrictions

Members can accrue a maximum of 45 years pensionable membership in total. If a member achieves 45 years membership and continues in employment (but not contributing to the scheme) they will be covered for Death in Service benefits. These benefits will be calculated using the service and salary at the date the contributions ceased plus any relevant pension increase. 


3. Types of Membership

There are four types of membership:

    • Qualifying
    • Reckonable
    • Contributing
    • Non-contributing

The four types of membership also incorporate:

    • whole time membership
    • part-time membership. 

This is dependant upon the employee's contracted hours at the time of contributing to the scheme.

3.1 Qualifying membership

Qualifying membership is membership that counts towards determining eligibility to benefits, but is not always reckonable in the calculation of those benefits. (The relating regulation can be found under Part B pensionable employment of the scheme regulations).

The following are taken as qualifying service:

    • all contributing membership (reckonable for benefit purposes);
    • part-time pensionable service i.e. the calendar length of time rather than the service actually worked;
    • transferred in service – the actual membership in a former scheme when a member transfers those benefits to the STSS. 

NB: in some cases the service credit given may not be on a day for day basis.

It should be noted that all reckonable membership is qualifying membership but not all qualifying membership is reckonable.

The following does not count as Qualifying Membership:

    • if a member has an additional service contract the service being bought cannot be used to determine their qualifying service.

3.2 Reckonable membership 

Reckonable membership is membership that counts both for deciding entitlement to benefits and for calculating them. Membership that counts for reckonable purposes includes:

    • any period of pensionable employment in respect of which the member pays contributions to the scheme
    • any period of additional service that the member has purchased
    • any period of service credited to the member as part of a transfer.

Membership that does not count for reckonable purposes includes: 

    • any period of employment in respect of which SPPA has paid contributions to another occupational scheme (transferred out service)
    • any period of service that has been used in the calculation of previous benefits
    • any period where the employee has opted out of the scheme
    • any period where scheme has discharged liability (e.g. refunds)
    • any period of unauthorised or unpaid leave where contributions are not payable, including strike days. 


3.3 Contributing Membership

This is membership during where contributions have been or are deemed to have been paid and counts towards both qualifying and reckonable membership. Membership still counts as contributing even when a member is on paid sick leave, paid maternity/paternity leave.


3.4 Non Contributing Membership

This is membership during which no contributions are paid. Non contributing membership includes:

      • any period of unpaid sick leave.
      • any period of authorised unpaid leave where contributions are not recovered e.g. unpaid maternity leave any period of unauthorised unpaid leave where contributions are not payable, including strike days

3.5 Whole Time Membership

A member is employed whole time if their contract of employment is on a whole time basis, i.e. they work the number of whole time conditioned hours recognised in their particular job (also referred to as full time). All whole time contributing membership counts at full calendar length towards qualifying and reckonable membership.


3.6 Part-time Membership

A member is considered part-time in the scheme if he/she works less than the whole time conditioned hours for their job. Benefits are based on the actual part-time service but membership is based on the calendar length the service accrued.



Part-time members may contribute to more than 1 employment, but the total membership must not exceed 365 calendar days in each year. 


Calculation of part-time service

STSS Employing Authorities are directly responsible for submitting and calculating the numbers of days in the scheme a part-time member has accrued. A member's pensionable service in part-time employment will not count at its full calendar length but will be calculated using the following calculation:

If the pensionable service is measured in hours

      Number Hours per Week        x      365** 
Whole Time Conditioned Hours

 The above is sometimes referred to as the part-time fraction e.g. 18.75 / 37.5 would be a member working half of the whole-time hours. 

**Or whole time days in period to be calculated. 


Additional Hours Worked for Part-time Members

A part-time member who works hours in addition to their normal working week will be pensionable on the extra hours worked up to full time conditioned hours.

Formula used to calculate this is:

Total Number of Hours, Including Additional Part-Time Hours    x      365** 
Number of Whole Time Conditioned Hours for the Year


Link to Scottish Government Website