Our goal is to support the professional and personal wellbeing of everyone who works here. Working here means you will benefit from a range of benefits that enhance life inside and outside of work. We offer generous annual leave, a contributory pension, and staff bonus and recognition schemes. We also offer flexible working and a variety of learning and development opportunities.


Your pension is a valuable part of your total reward package. When you start working for Defra you will have access to a choice of two civil service pension schemes. You will therefore join either the alpha scheme or the partnership scheme:

alpha scheme – this is a defined benefit career average pension scheme that allows you to build up your pension using an annual accrual rate of 2.32%. In addition to your personal contributions, Defra will make an employer contribution of between 26.6% and 27.9% dependent on your pensionable salary. You can find out more about employer contribution rates Employee contributions are also based upon your salary and contribution rates can be found civilservicepensionscheme.

partnership scheme – this is a personal pension scheme. You do not have to make any payments to have a partnership pension account, as your employer will pay your contributions. If you do choose to contribute, your employer will match your contributions up to a further 3% of your pensionable earnings. Your benefits in the partnership scheme are based  on contributions and the growth of the pension fund.

Life Assurance

Your pension will continue to provide valuable benefits for you and your family, if you are too ill to continue to work, or if you die before retirement. You can find more information about this by clicking here.

Generous Annual Leave and Bank Holiday Allowance

As a full-time new entrant to the Civil Service, or a Civil Servant on modernised terms and conditions, you will be entitled to 25 days’ annual leave (rising, over 5 years, to 30 days). If you are an existing Civil Servant on pre-modernised terms, these will remain the same.

In addition, you will receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day in May to mark the Queen’s Birthday.

Staff Bonuses and Staff Recognition

As well as our end of year Performance Awards for our top performers, we also have a Staff Recognition Scheme to reward exemplary work.

Learning and Development

From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in the Defra Group is supported to develop their skills and capabilities.

When you join Defra, you will start with an induction to the department, our work and policies. From then on, you will have access to Civil Service Learning, which offers learning and professional development through world-class providers. You will also be invited to work confidentially with a mentor or coach to support your career development. (This is optional and entirely up to you.)