Retirement for staff at grades 6 and 7

Since 1 October 2017, there has been no normal or fixed age at which academic-related staff at grades 6 and 7 have to retire. The University may not request staff at these grades to take retirement at a particular age, nor suggest that they consider doing so. It is for individual members of staff to decide when they wish to retire.

Please note:

  • Staff at grades 6 and 7 who are considering applying for regrading or promotion into a post at grade 8 or above should give careful consideration to the effect this might have on their eligibility for retirement and pension.
  • Between the abolishment of the default retirement age in 2011 and 30 September 2017, the University’s EJRA applied to all staff at grades 6 and 7. Staff at grades 6 and 7 who reached the age of 67 on or before 30 September 2017 should have retired by that date unless they had an approved extension to continue working. For further information, please contact your HR Business Partner.
 

 

Guidance on retirement

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Letter to employee: Departments should write to employees at or around their 55th birthday in order to remind staff of their retirement options, to update them about information and support available, and to encourage them to consult with teams like Pensions if necessary. It is recommended that another retirement letter is sent to the employee every 5 years thereafter to remind them of the above. There is a template letter available in Templates.

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 notify 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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Staff at grades 6 and 7 belong to several different pension schemes, and specific advice needs to be taken on how each scheme’s rules apply (contact the Pensions Office). The current possibilities under USS, the principal pension scheme for academic-related staff, are: 

Normal retirement: 65 is currently the ‘normal pension age’ for USS. From 65, all eligible USS members are entitled to take their pension benefits and retire from the University. But, if you do not wish to do so, you can continue working beyond your normal pension age and take your pension later. 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: Staff may apply to retire before the normal pension age. This is commonly known as ‘early retirement’. The 55th birthday is generally the earliest age at which a member of USS may retire. Early retirement usually entails receiving a reduced pension – the benefits are actuarially reduced by an amount that depends on how long before normal pension age the pension is taken. However, a current USS member who was aged 55 or over on 1 October 2011 and who retires at or after the age of 60 will receive an unreduced pension.

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: If a member of staff's health deteriorates so that they are permanently unable to do their job, and they are a member of a relevant pension scheme, they may be eligible to apply for an ill-health early retirement, and have their pension benefits may be paid early. Ill-health early retirement benefits may include a lump sum payment and/or a pension. Contact the Pensions Office to find out what ill-health early retirement benefits are available. For advice on managing ill-health, departments should contact their HR Business Partner.

 

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

Pensions information: Anyone considering retirement should request an individual pension estimate. The level 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 information, but they cannot give financial advice. For this members of staff should consult an independent financial advisor.

Meetings with managers: Anyone considering their retirement options is encouraged to discuss them with their administrator or manager. Such discussions should give the employee important information about how the department sees their area of work evolving over the coming years, how the employee might be affected by any changes, and how the department might respond to a request for flexible retirement or for a change in role.

POD resource: People and Organisational Development offer an online resource for staff planning for retirement. This downloadable guide includes links to various sources of information about retirement. 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.

Discussion of retirement: Managers should not shy away from initiating a discussion about an employee’s future plans. Care must be taken to avoid giving the impression of suggesting that the employee should think of retiring. There are no problems with discussing retirement if the subject is first raised by the employee. Best practice is to start a discussion by asking general questions about how the employee sees their future plans and development and to ensure that such discussions form part of a wider pattern of meetings with other staff, such as occur within a PDR process.

Performance: Care must be taken to avoid making assumptions about capability or performance changing with age. High-performing older employees should have the same access to any career opportunities and merit pay schemes as others. Equally, unsatisfactory performance must be addressed as and when it arises. Best practice is to review performance regularly for all staff; such reviews cannot be targeted only at older employees.

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CoreHR guidance


For guidance on managing the CoreHR systems changes please visit:

HR SYSTEMS WEBSITE

 
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