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Employee benefits

Below you will find a list of the benefits of working for CCFE and its parent body, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Scientific collaboration

There is a friendly and collaborative atmosphere at Culham. Ideas and results are openly shared at weekly MAST and JET physics meetings and Culham colloquia give staff an opportunity to hear from external scientific speakers – both from the international fusion community and the wider scientific world.

Annual leave

The annual leave entitlement for employees is 25 days (pro rata for part-time employees) rising to 28 days after five years of service and then to 30 days after ten years of service. In addition employees are entitled to 10.5 holidays (including bank holidays and privilege days). Employees work a revised working week to cover the days that fall between Christmas and New Year when the site is closed. This means that no annual leave needs to be saved to cover these days. Employees are able to carry over up to ten days annual leave to the next leave year, if they wish. There is also the opportunity to accrue time off in lieu of extra work carried out as overtime, instead of receiving a payment, subject to line manager's discretion.


Employees of UKAEA are automatically enrolled into the UKAEA Combined Pension Scheme (CPS), which is a final salary defined benefit scheme. It includes the following benefits for members:

  • A pension and lump sum payment at Normal Pension Age of 60. The pension is based on final salary and calculated as: years' service x pensionable final earnings x 1/80th. The lump sum is: 3 x the annual pension;
  • Options at retirement to convert lump sum into additional pension or to commute pension to additional lump sum;
  • Options for early retirement or partial retirement;
  • Death in service benefits including lump sum of 2 x pensionable final earnings and spouse and dependents pensions;
  • Spouse and dependents pensions on death after retirement;
  • Ill health benefits of payment of pension and lump sum with possible enhancement;
  • Additional Voluntary Contributions scheme.

Employee contributions qualify for tax relief and the UKAEA also contributes. Some benefits are reduced for service less than two years. Employees can opt out of the scheme. Further details of the scheme can be found at the following website:

Note: The CPS is expected to close for future accrual of benefits at some point in the future as part of the reform of all public sector pensions, and most UKAEA employees and all new employees will then be transferred to the Civil Servants and Others Pension Scheme (known as alpha) for future benefits. This is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) defined benefits scheme. It includes very similar benefits to the CPS, but the pension is built up each year based on 2.32% of salary and inflation each year.

Further details of the alpha scheme can be found at the following website:

Benefits earned in the CPS at the date of the change to the alpha arrangement will be frozen and when paid will be based on service to the date of joining the alpha scheme and pensionable final earnings when the member leaves the alpha scheme or leaves employment (whichever is earlier), i.e. the link to final salary for CPS benefits is maintained.

Bonus scheme

Employees are normally entitled to bonus payments depending on UKAEA performance in any given financial year. Milestones are set up in a way so that employees' performance has influence on UKAEA performance in a given area. Bonus payments are paid on an annual basis as a percentage of salary (maximum 7%).

UKAEA Discounts

UKAEA Discounts is a free to use benefit, paid for by UKAEA, and offers numerous opportunities to regularly save money on normal everyday shopping. It has the potential to save you many £10s or even £100s per year. Click here for more information.


New entrants who are required to move their home to take up a permanent appointment may qualify to be given some assistance towards their removal expenses. This is subject to an HMRC ceiling of £8,000.

Flexible working

UKAEA promotes flexible working to enable employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Depending on the business needs, this can range from part-time arrangements to allow for ‘the school run’ or elderly care to occasional home working and the ability to flex hours to fit with lifestyle choices. UKAEA is also open to job sharing unless otherwise stated.

Part-time working

UKAEA is proud to promote working part-time to enable employees to maintain a healthy life-work balance. Depending on the business needs, this can range from shortened days to allow for ‘the school run' to shortened weeks to fit with life style choices and most ports in between.

Emergency family leave (time off for dependants)

At discretion a member of staff can request time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. This leave is to allow employees to deal with unexpected or sudden problems and to make longer term arrangements as necessary. There is no qualifying period necessary for this leave and depending on circumstances some of the time off may qualify to be paid.

Maternity leave

Where an employee qualifies for contractual maternity pay (at least one year's effective service), she will receive her normal rate of pay during the 26 week ordinary maternity leave period.

Following this the first 13 weeks of additional maternity leave will be paid at the appropriate statutory rate of SMP. The remaining 13 weeks of additional maternity leave will be unpaid.

Adoption leave and paternity leave schemes are also offered.

Childcare vouchers

Employees can elect to purchase childcare vouchers through a salary sacrifice scheme. The vouchers can be used to pay for most types of childcare, including nurseries, childminders, before and after school clubs and holiday schemes. Culham hosts one of the popular Toddlercare nurseries (within 50 metres of the main entrance). Toddlercare recently achieved an excellent rating from Ofsted.

Learning and development

UKAEA is committed to developing all members of staff by offering a wide range of programmes and support to suit their individual career aspiration. In engineering these range from an advanced apprenticeship scheme certified by IMechE and IET, a graduate scheme also certified by IMechE and IET with IOP pending, we are similarly accredited for our Continuous Professional Development Schemes and are members of the IET Power Academy. In the physics field we offer PhD and MSc opportunities and Culham Research Fellowships. In addition to the structured development schemes we also provide individual development as needed by the business and career trajectories.

Mentoring scheme

To help support its staff through their careers and professional development UKAEA has introduced a mentoring programme. Mentoring is a relationship in which one person, the mentor, helps another, the mentee, to discover more about themselves, their potential and capability. It can assist an individual by enabling them to seek guidance, support, help and feedback. The mentoring programme is a formal process which will be regularly reviewed and monitored. It recognises that individuals have different goals and aspirations and it endeavours to meet the individual's requirements and needs as well as those of UKAEA.


UKAEA has a strategy which concerns nurturing a culture that promotes research, innovation and leading edge technological excellence. UKAEA wants its staff to seek out and respond flexibly to new opportunities and problems with a ‘can do ’attitude and a commercial / pragmatic mind-set.

To promote this culture, UKAEA is committed to investing in its people. We strive to create a working environment where people are given challenging and interesting work, frequently required to think innovatively about new problems. We seek to create an environment where people receive regular constructive feedback and have many opportunities to learn and develop including working with international, multidisciplinary teams. The organisation is growing, which provides us with the opportunity to recruit employees with the attributes that we need to take us forward and ensure a successful future for the organisation.

There are six enabling themes on which the organisation has based its culture: Passion, Innovation, Accountability, Business-Minded, Leadership and Delivery. Each of these is built into the organisation’s internal behavioural and management competencies, and assists the organisation in moving its people to be more agile and better prepared to take full advantage of future opportunities.

Cycle to Work scheme

The scheme provides employees with the opportunity to purchase a new bike through a salary sacrifice scheme. Employees are entitled to borrow up to £1,000 for a bike and accessories.

Parking facilities

Excellent parking facilities are available across the site. Parking spaces are located close to offices and are free of charge. The site is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Health and wellbeing

Research has shown that healthy and happy staff contribute more to their employer as well as the nation as a whole. As part of our health and wellbeing programme UKAEA provides a range of free benefits helping to further improve your health and wellbeing. There is an on-site Occupational Health service. There is also an Employee Assistance Programme which is a welfare initiative, available to all staff, by telephone, giving support and counselling, covering a wide variety of subject areas, such as financial, personal, work-related and legal.

Eating and drinking

At Culham, catering outlets such as shops, a sandwich bar and a restaurant have a great range of food and drinks for staff to choose from throughout the day. The majority of the food is made in-house.

There is also a Costa Coffee outlet offering fresh coffee and cakes.

Social clubs and events

There is a social club (CSSA) which organises discounted theatre trips to various London shows for its members, as well as supporting a wide range of clubs and societies. In addition CSSA organises a range of events on site such as Christmas parties for kids, bonfire nights and other events. This winter, colleagues have been challenged to a 'Winter Triathlon' which includes a pub-style quiz, a skittles tournament and traditional Aunt Sally game. In the summer, teams from around the site take part in a softball tournament.

LogoAthena Swan

UKAEA is delighted to have been awarded the Athena SWAN bronze award which recognises the commitment of advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.