The proposed changes are subject to consultation with scheme members. The initial increase in April 2019 would see employer contributions change from 18% to 19.5% of payroll and members pay 8.8% rather than 8%. From October 2019, members would pay 10.4% and employers 22.5%, followed by 11.7% and 24.9% respectively from April 2020.
Responding to the announcement, a Universities UK spokesperson said: "We acknowledge that the USS Trustee are following the cost sharing process set out in the scheme rules given the lack of a JNC agreement on benefit reforms.
"The increases in contributions being proposed will be challenging for both employers and scheme members. This temporary fix will lead to difficult decisions at many institutions over financial priorities. Over the summer we will be working with employers and other stakeholders to fully understand the implications.
"Both UCU and UUK are committed to supporting the ongoing work of the Joint Expert Panel and to reaching an agreement on the 2017 valuation following the panel's report in early autumn. We hope this agreement will allow the higher levels of contribution increases proposed to be avoided."
For more information on the proposals by the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the update on their website.
On 23 March 2018, Universities UK and UCU announced that they wanted to establish – under an agreement reached between UCU and UUK at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) – a Joint Expert Panel to review the USS valuation, processes and assumptions and to agree key principles to underpin the future joint approach to the valuation of the USS fund. The establishment of the Joint Expert Panel has received support from USS employers and UCU members.
As outlined in the panel's terms of reference, a report from the JEP is expected in September 2018. For latest updates on the work of the JEP, please see the latest here. Universities UK represents the collective view of more than 350 higher education employers.