Wellbeing HubFinancial wellbeing

This webpage provides a range of support you can access to find help with your financial wellbeing.

We also have information on cost of living: advice and guidance for students.

Employee assistance programme 

The University provides an employee assistance programme (EAP) through PAM Assist. PAM Assist provides free, confidential and practical financial guidance which is available to all University employees through their webpage.

Access PAM Assist

To access PAM Assist, first time users should follow these 5 simple steps:

  • Click the PAM Assist link above and go to Log-In and select Sign Up
  • You will be asked to insert your Organisational Code - this is UoS1
  • Create your log-in details using either your work or personal email and pick a password
  • Validate your account via the notification email
  • LOGIN using the email address and password you just created.

Once your account is created - to access the site anytime - just click the link above and use the email and password you signed up with to log in.

Confidential freephone helpline

If you would prefer to speak to someone about your financial situation or if you have any concerns, please contact their confidential freephone helpline: 0800 882 4102.

The service provides access to professionally qualified counsellors to provide emotional support, as well as specialists in welfare rights, debt management and legal advice.


Pensions are a tax-efficient way of saving for your retirement. They also provide you with life cover and pension benefits for your family in the event of ill health or death.

Sometimes, pensions can be costly, especially in the current financial climate, however, there are a variety of options that staff can use to reduce their pension costs.

The university pensions office cannot provide financial advice and we strongly recommend that staff seek independent financial advice.

LGPS 50/50 Scheme

Staff who are members of the local government pension scheme can elect to join the 50/50 section of the pension scheme.

You can elect for this at any time and it means you pay half of the contributions you normally would pay, However, you only build up half of the pension during the period you pay the reduced contribution.

By paying the reduced contribution, there is no impact on any pension benefits that your loved ones would be entitled to if you died in service. You would also be entitled to full life cover benefits and full ill health retirement enhancements. The University would carry on paying the full employer pension contribution.

You can of course choose at any time to move back to the main section of the Scheme and your employer will do that from the pay period following your written option.

USS Salary Sacrifice

USS members can elect to pay their pension contributions on a salary sacrifice basis. You can agree to give up the part of your salary that you would pay towards your pension, and the University will pay both the employee and employer contributions to USS on your behalf.

This means that both you and the University could pay lower National Insurance contributions as well as the tax relief saving applied to pension contributions.

USS Enhanced Opt-Out

Members of USS can elect for enhanced opt-out membership of USS. This means that your pension contribution would be reduced to 2.5%. You would remain entitled to full life cover benefits as well as ill-health retirement benefits. However, you would no longer be accruing benefits in the USS Income Builder (defined benefits part of USS).

Enhanced opt-out status needs to be in place for a minimum of 12 months and can only be put in place once. Once it is cancelled, it cannot be reinstated.

Flexible retirement

There is a provision under USS, LGPS and the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme for members who are at least 55 years old (rising to 57 in 2028) to take flexible retirement. This means that they could reduce their hours and access some of their pension benefits. Flexible retirement requires the agreement of the University

The table below provides a summary of the options available. Please note that the University cannot offer financial advice but can provide information on the options available.

Option Pension schemeWhy would I do this?BenefitsRisks
50/50 scheme LGPS To reduce pension contribution paid by member Employee contribution reduced by half, retains full life cover and incapacity retirement benefits. Building up less pension benefits and pension will be lower when you retire.
Salary sacrifice  USS To reduce the amount of National insurance you pay thereby increasing your take-home pay The national insurance costs for both employee and university may be lower depending on individual circumstances. If you plan to leave employment or withdraw from USS within two years of joining the scheme (but after the first three months) you will not be entitled to a refund of contributions if you are a salary sacrifice member.
Enhanced opt-out USS To reduce the cost of pension membership or for tax reasons Reduces cost to member of pension membership, maintains full life cover and incapacity retirement. Member not building up any pension benefits. Lower pension on retirement.
Flexible retirement USS/LGPS and STSS To access some of my pension benefits and reduce my working hours To ease into retirement and to access some of your pension benefits. May be reductions applied to your flexible pension benefits if retiring early.

Further details on all of these options can be obtained by contacting the pensions office (pensions@strath.ac.uk). The Pensions Office can also meet with staff to discuss any of these options or for a general discussion on pension benefits.

Person walking with bicycle on street.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The Cycle to Work Scheme is a tax exempt salary sacrifice scheme which allows all eligible University employees to hire cycles and cycle safety equipment on a tax-free basis. 

Cycle to Work Scheme

External online resources

There are also a number of external online resources which offer free confidential advice and practical tools covering all aspects of financial management, from planning your retirement to weekly budgeting and everything in between.

This is just a small selection of the information and help that can be found online.

If your financial situation is impacting your mental health, and you feel comfortable discussing this with your Line Manager, please do approach them in the first instance.

PAM Assist have trained counsellors available 24hrs a day, 365 days a year on 0800 882 4102.