Support and guidance: answering your questions during the COVID-19 outbreak

If you have questions about your pension or investments at this time we recommend you speak to a financial adviser first. They are best placed to understand what you need.

If your circumstances at work are changing

Most pension contributions that you make as an employee are a percentage of your salary, so if your salary has been reduced, any pension contributions made by you or your employer should be based on your new, lower salary.  Your employer will however check that any pension contributions they make are still in line with any specific arrangements they have with you. 

If your employer has asked you to take unpaid leave, then they are unlikely to be paying pension contributions for you in this period.

Don't worry. You can reduce the amount you pay into your pension to a level that's more affordable. Or you can stop making contributions altogether and restart when you're ready. There's no charge for reducing or stopping your contributions.

If you do reduce or stop your pension contributions, the amount you get at retirement will be reduced.  Many people are making very tough choices right now, but you should think carefully about the impact this might have on your income in retirement. 

If you are contributing to a pension offered by your employer, you will need to speak directly to your employer about reducing contributions. If you decide to pay less into your workplace pension, it may affect the amount your employer contributes on your behalf, so it’s definitely worth checking with them. However, in some cases, there may be a legal obligation for employers to continue paying pension contributions.

Yes.  If you are still being paid while you are off sick, your employer will need to continue deducting contributions from your salary.  Any Statutory Sick Pay being paid forms part of the qualifying earning rules if you are in an employer’s automatic enrolment pension scheme.

What happens if I leave my employer?

If you leave your employer you can:

  • Continue to make contributions into your pension plan. Remember that the contributions your employer makes will stop.
  • Stop making contributions and leave the pension you've built up invested in your plan with Royal London.
  • Transfer the pension you've built up to another pension plan.
  • Transferring may not be in your best interests as you could lose valuable benefits which can’t be replaced e.g Guaranteed Annuity Rates. You should speak to a financial adviser before you make a decision.

If you’re thinking of making a change

Money in your pension is locked in until you are 55 years old. It may be possible for you to start taking money out of your pension before age 55 if your health means you can no longer carry on working. However, not all pensions offer this.

The Pensions Advisory Service offers free and impartial guidance to people with workplace and personal pensions. Go to

If you are aged 55 and over then you can access your pension income but there are a large number of factors you’ll need to consider e.g

  • What impact will this have on my retirement income in the future?
  • Will this limit the contributions I’d like to make in the future?
  • What are the tax implications?

All of these make this a very complex decision and we suggest you seek financial advice before making any decisions.

The Pensions Advisory Service offers free and impartial guidance to people with workplace and personal pensions. Go to

Whether you can increase your income will depend on the kind of retirement plan you have.  If it is a secure income, more commonly known as an annuity, then you won’t be able to make any changes to this. 

If you have a flexible income plan, more commonly known as Income Drawdown, then you can change the level of income you take.  You’ll need to think carefully about any changes you want to make as they could have an impact on how much tax you pay and also how long your income may last you in retirement.

The Pensions Advisory Service offers free and impartial guidance to people with workplace and personal pensions. Go to

You can continue to pay money into your pension, subject to certain limits, even if stock markets are fluctuating.  A pension is a long term investment, so if you are thinking about adding more to your plan at this time we suggest you seek financial advice before making any decisions.   

With the economic conditions that we currently face, it’s important to remember that your pension is a long term investment. It is very normal for the value of investments to go up and down. Although not guaranteed, history shows us that values generally go up over the longer term, despite this short term volatility.

Making decisions based on what’s happening in the short term can be a risky thing to do. It might be tempting, for example, to move investments into cash for a while.  But in doing that, you might miss out on the point when the value goes back up - so you could lose out in the long term. So, if you are thinking about changing your investments in your plan at this time we suggest you seek financial advice before making any decisions.  

You can download our mobile app to see the current value of your pension. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download it