How saving works at Unilever

Your Benefits Envelope

When you work at Unilever, you get a Total Reward package. Your Total Reward includes something called a 'Benefits Envelope'.

Your Benefits Envelope is given to you on top of your pay. One of the things you can use it for is saving for your future.

How much your Benefits Envelope is worth

How much your Benefits Envelope is worth is based on what's called your pensionable earnings. For most people, this is the same as their base salary before tax. You can find out what your pensionable earnings are on My Reward. Any salary and allowances that are marked with a (P) means they're pensionable.

Your Benefits Envelope is worth 25% of your pensionable earnings. You get this as well as your pay. So, if your pensionable earnings were £20,000, then your Benefits Envelope would be worth £5,000.

How you can use your Benefits Envelope

You can use your Benefits Envelope to:

  • Save for your future with the Retirement Savings Plan
  • Get extra taxable pay
  • Save some, and take the rest as extra taxable pay

The tax you'll pay

You currently pay income tax and National Insurance on any part of your Benefits Envelope that you take as extra pay, just like the rest of your salary. But you won't pay income tax and National Insurance on any part of your Benefits Envelope that you use for pension. You may have to pay some tax when you come to use the money you've built up, though.

How tax works on Extra voluntary contributions

Your tax allowances

Choosing how you use your Benefits Envelope

You choose how to use your Benefits Envelope when you join Unilever.

Then each year, you get the chance to choose again during what's called 'annual renewal'. The changes you make during this window will start from 1 October each year.

What happens if you don't make a choice

If you don't choose how to use your Benefits Envelope, then:

  • An amount worth 15% of your pensionable earnings goes into the Retirement Savings Plan automatically
  • An amount worth 10% of your pensionable earnings comes to you as extra taxable pay

So, if your pensionable earnings were £20,000, then £3,000 would go into the Retirement Savings Plan, and £2,000 would come to you as extra taxable pay.

To see the effect of making different choices, use our modeller.

How pension at Unilever compares with other employers

All the money that goes into your pension can come from Unilever

Most workplace pension saving is shared between the employer and the employee, with both putting some money towards the employee's future.

With the Retirement Savings Plan, you can choose an option where all the money comes from Unilever. You can top it up with your own money if you like, but you don't have to.

Unilever contributes more than many schemes

The Government sets a minimum for contributions to workplace pensions – it's currently 8% of qualifying earnings, with at least 3% coming from the employer. Some employers contribute more, but many don't.

Unilever contributes much more. If you choose the maximum pension contribution you can get from Unilever, it's worth 25% of your pensionable earnings.

Other benefits to working at Unilever

Life cover

Everyone who works for Unilever gets Core life cover. This pays out a lump sum worth 4 times your annual pensionable earnings if you die while working for Unilever.

If you want to, you can pay for Extra life cover on top of this. You might want to do this to help replace your income, so you could carry on supporting your dependants.

You can buy an amount worth an extra 1, 2, 3, or 4 times your pensionable earnings. So, if you bought the maximum Extra life cover, we would pay a lump sum worth a total of 8 times your pensionable earnings if you died while working for Unilever.

The Trustees will pay out this lump sum once they have confirmed who should get the money. To help them do this, it's important to tell the Trustees who your chosen beneficiaries are. Remember to update these names if your circumstances change – like if you get married or have a child.

There's a limit to how much you can save into all your pension pots in total. This is called the Lifetime Allowance. Depending on how much of the Lifetime Allowance you'd used, the person or people who receive the lump sum might have to pay a tax charge.

When you die, the money you've built up in the Plan will be paid out as a lump sum. Find out more

The cost for Extra life cover will come from your salary, not your Benefits Envelope. You'll be able to buy Extra life cover when you join the Plan, or any year after that during what's called 'annual renewal'. You'll also be able to stop or change it during this window too. Any changes you make during this window will start from 1 October each year.

You can find out how much this cover will cost you on My Reward. It will also be shown on the Total Reward statement you'll be sent every year.

You don't currently need to provide medical evidence that you're in good health to be able to buy Extra life cover. But this might change in the future.

Ill health cover

You can buy ill health cover to protect you in case you become very seriously ill and have to retire early. In the Plan, this is called Voluntary serious ill health DC benefit.

If you become very seriously ill and have to retire early as a result, then this benefit pays a one-off contribution into the Plan for you. To work out this benefit, we count the years between the date you're granted ill health retirement and the date you'll reach your retirement age. Then when you retire we pay 25% of your pensionable earnings into the Plan for each of those years.

If you qualify for the benefit, the money in your Retirement Savings Plan pension pot – including the Voluntary serious ill health DC benefit – will be used to provide retirement benefits for you. Find out more about your options for receiving this money.

This cover only applies to severe ill-health conditions. To be eligible, you would need to meet the criteria set out by very strict tests. Your health condition would need to:

  • be permanent, and
  • prevent you from working in any capacity and for any employer, and
  • severely reduce the amount you can earn.

At the time when you have to stop work because of your health, you would also need to still be paying for the Voluntary serious ill health DC benefit.

You can buy Voluntary serious ill health DC benefit if you are under 65.

The cost for Voluntary serious ill health DC benefit will come from your salary, not from your Benefits Envelope. You'll be able to buy this benefit when you join the Plan, or any year after that during what's called 'annual renewal'. You'll also be able to stop the benefit during this window too. Any changes you make during this window will start from 1 October each year.

You can find out how much this cover will cost you on My Reward. It will also be shown on the Total Reward statement you'll be sent every year.