Retirement for academic staff and academic-related staff at grade RSIV and equivalents

NB Changes to the EJRA came into force on 18 October 2022 

Academic staff and academic-related staff in posts at grade RSIV and clinical equivalents (E62 and E82) can choose to retire at or after the minimum age of their pension scheme, to be retired at the EJRA, or to request an extension beyond their EJRA. The University offers a flexible retirement scheme, and staff are normally also eligible to take early retirement if they qualify according to the rules of their pension scheme.

Guidance on retirement

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Letter to employee: Departments (or Divisions for academic staff) should write to individual employees at least 2.5 years in advance of their retirement date to remind them of their options, to update them on sources of information and support currently available, and to encourage them to consult with their department, the Pensions Office and other parties as necessary. The relevant pro-forma letters may be downloaded from Templates (see the link on the right hand side of this page). 

Retirement report: Departments can use the Retirement Report in Discoverer (PERDEP07) to determine who should receive a letter.

Employee’s responsibility: To retire, a member of staff must write to their department, providing the appropriate period of notice (as specified in their contract) of their intention to retire.

Notifying the Pensions Office: Departments should notice the Pensions Office as soon as possible once an employee has advised them of their intended retirement. Please use the Advance notification of employee retiring form. The Pensions Office require three months' notice in advance to ensure benefits are paid in a timely fashion.

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University employees belong to a number of different pension schemes, and should take advice on the options available in their particular circumstances. Specific references are made below to the USS pension scheme as this is the main pension scheme for academic and related staff at the University. 


Elect to retire: Employees may choose to retire at, or at any time after, the minimum pension age stipulated in the rules of their pension scheme. For staff in the USS pension scheme, the normal pension age is currently 66. From 66, all eligible USS members are entitled to take their pension benefits and retire from the University. However, academic staff and academic-related staff at grade RSIV and equivalents (E62 and E82) can choose to continue working at the University until they reach the EJRA. Please be aware that the normal pension age will rise in the future, broadly in line with increases to the State Pension age.

Early retirement: Employees may apply to retire before the normal pension age. This is known as ‘early retirement’. For USS members, the 55th birthday is generally the earliest age at which a member of USS may apply to take their pension and retire. Early retirement usually entails receiving a reduced pension – the benefits are actuarially reduced by an amount that depends on how long before the normal pension age the pension is taken. 

Flexible retirement: USS offers a flexible retirement option to members aged 55 or over. This is where a member of staff continues to work, but takes a reduction in salary, for example by working reduced hours, in exchange for payment of a portion of their pension. This mix of work and pension can offer an attractive way of tapering towards eventual full retirement.

Ill health retirement: Departments wishing to explore this option with a member of staff should contact their HR Business Partner for guidance.

Retire at the EJRA: Academic staff and academic-related staff at grade RSIV and clinical equivalents will be retired by the University when they reach the Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA). The EJRA is currently set at the 30 September preceding an employee’s 69th birthday, rising to the 30 September preceding the 70th birthday with effect from 1 October 2023.

Request an EJRA extension: Employees nearing their EJRA date can request an extension to continue working beyond the EJRA. For details on how to seek extended employment beyond the EJRA, please view the full EJRA Procedure.

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Given the importance of the retirement decision, departments and divisions should ensure that staff have access to relevant information and encourage anyone considering retirement to consult before reaching their decision. 

Pensions information: Anyone considering retirement should request an individual pension estimate. The size of each person’s pension benefits depends on factors such as age, pensionable salary and pensionable service. The Pensions Office can provide pensions estimates and other pension information, but they cannot give financial advice. For this, members of staff should consult an independent financial adviser.

POD resource: People and Organisational Development offer an online resource for staff thinking about and planning for retirement. This downloadable guide includes links to internal and external sources of information on retirement planning. You can find it under ‘Planning retirement’ on POD’s Course Listings webpage.

Further resources: A number of additional resources are outlined in the Guidance on Retirement download available on the right hand side of this page.

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PeopleXD guidance

For guidance on managing the PeopleXD systems changes please visit: