Life Events

Changes to your salary or working hours

As a member of the RPS, your RPS pension benefits are calculated using your full-time equivalent Pensionable Pay and you accrue RPS pensionable service based on your working hours.
For example, if you were to reduce your working hours from being full-time to 50%, in a full scheme year you would accrue six months RPS pensionable service rather than a full year of RPS pensionable service.

Additionally, your RPS contributions are calculated to reflect your working hours. If you change your working hours during a scheme year, the amount of RPS contributions you pay will also change.

For information on how changes to your salary can impact your RPS pension benefits please see the RPS Pay section.


If you’re on secondment and have received a pay increase as a result (paid as an allowance), this allowance will not count in your Pensionable Pay figure. Your RPS contributions and benefits built up during this period will continue as though you were not on secondment.

If, however, the secondment results in an increase to your Headline Salary, any pay increase will be treated in line with the RPS Pensionable Pay rules. Please see the RPS Pay section for details.

Additionally, any reduction in Pensionable Pay during or after your secondment will result in you continuing to have RPS contributions and benefits based on your highest Pensionable Pay.

RPS contributions are fixed as at 1st July each year, based upon your RPS Section Pay on 1st April of the same year.
If there are any changes to your salary throughout the year, they will be captured from the following July.
The amount of RPS contributions you pay will only change during a year should you change your working hours at Network Rail.

For secondments overseas with Network Rail Consulting, assuming the secondment is not for more than 3 years, you will remain a member of the RPS and both you and Network Rail will pay RPS contributions based on your Notional Pensionable Pay. Further details will be included in your secondment agreement.

Career Break

If Network Rail agrees to your application for a career break, these are usually unpaid. Therefore, neither you nor Network Rail will pay RPS contributions for the duration of the career break and this is treated as a ‘break in service’ for RPS pension purposes which will impact your RPS pension benefits.

You will continue to be covered for death in service benefits for the duration of the career break.

Marriage or in a relationship

If you/re a Network Rail employee and an RPS member, it is important that you keep both Network Rail and the pension scheme administrators updated with your marital status, whether you’re married, have a civil partner or are in a long-term relationship.

If you’re married or have a civil partner, your partner will automatically be entitled to a spouse’s pension, which will be payable to them when you die.

If you’re in a relationship with someone and rely on one another financially, they may be entitled to an equivalent of a spouse’s pension when you die.

You may need to update your Nomination Form to ensure the Trustee is aware of your wishes about the payment of any lump sum death benefit whilst you are employed by Network Rail.
You can update your Nomination Form electronically in your online RPS Member Account.

For further information about what happens to your RPS pension benefits when you die, please visit the what happens when you die section.

Maternity, paternity and adoption

Whilst you are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you will continue to pay RPS contributions, however these will be based on the actual pay that you receive but your RPS pension benefits will be based on your normal rate of Pensionable Pay and you will accrue RPS pensionable service as normal.

If you have a period of unpaid maternity, paternity or adoption leave then no RPS contributions will be deducted until you return to work and your pay resumes. This will impact your RPS pensionable service and it will be seen as a break in service.

During any paid and unpaid period of maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you will continue to be covered for death in service benefits.

Following your return to work, you can elect to pay RPS contributions for the period that you were on unpaid maternity, paternity or adoption leave to ensure the break in service is removed and your RPS pensionable service is not impacted.

If you do not return to work your RPS membership will end with effect from the last day you paid RPS contributions.

Divorce or Dissolution of a Civil Partnership

When working out a financial settlement as part of a divorce, your pension benefits may be taken into consideration which could affect your RPS pension benefits.

A court order, known as a Pensions Sharing Order, can be made and stipulated by the Court to transfer part of the value of your RPS pension benefits to your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner. If this is the case, it would mean your RPS pension benefits would be subsequently reduced.

You can request a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) for divorce purposes by contacting Railpen at Please note there may be a charge of up to £250 for providing this information.

Additionally, as part of a Pensions Sharing Order, you may be entitled to a portion of your ex-spouse or ex-civil partners pension benefits. In this case, you may be able to transfer these benefits into your RPS pension benefits.
To see if you are able to transfer benefits derived from a Pension Sharing Order into your RPS pension please contact Railpen at