The EJRA

  • The EJRA is set at the 30th September preceding an individual’s 69th birthday.
  • It applies to all staff at grade 8 and above. There is no set retirement age for staff at grades 1 to 7.
  • The EJRA is in place to promote a set of Aims (set out below), including to enable inter-generational fairness, improvements in diversity, and succession planning.
  • In exceptional circumstances, individuals can apply to work beyond the EJRA by following the EJRA extension application process.

The University has operated an Employer Justified Retirement Age since 2011. The policy was introduced following changes in national legislation that removed the default retirement age. It was agreed by Congregation that the EJRA would operate for ten years, with an interim review after five years. The five-year review concluded in 2017. Congregation considered the review group's recommendations, and, as a result, approved changes to the age and scope of the EJRA. These changes came into effect on 1 October 2017. 

POLICY

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In 2011, Council agreed to maintain a retirement age for University academic and academic-related staff, including (in respect of their University appointments) the holders of joint appointments, primarily to support the University's mission to sustain excellence in teaching, research and administration and to maintain and develop its historical position as a world-class university (see the Aims of the EJRA).

Following the five-year review of the Policy in 2016-17, Congregation voted to maintain the EJRA with a revised age and coverage.

From 1 October 2017, all academic and related staff holding roles at grade 8 or above are deemed to have a retirement date of 30 September preceding the 69th birthday, which shall be the EJRA. Applications to work beyond the EJRA are considered in accordance with the Procedure that has been approved by Council, on the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, and will only be approved in specific and exceptional circumstances.

In cases where, under the Personnel Committee's procedures applying until 30 September 2011, a member of staff has a retirement date set by individual agreement to be later than 30 September preceding the 68th birthday, the retirement date specified in the agreement will continue to apply.

The EJRA will operate for an initial period of ten years from 1 October 2011. The application and outcomes of the EJRA and its procedures will be reported annually to the Personnel Committee, and have been subject to an interim review after five years. A further review will be undertaken in 2021.

These reviews will take into account all relevant considerations, including the continued relevance of the Aims of the EJRA to each of the groups of staff to whom the EJRA applies, the application of the EJRA, and the procedure for exceptional limited extended employment, as well as relevant external developments in relation, for example, to pensions and longevity.

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In the context of the University’s particular structure and procedures, the EJRA is considered to be an appropriate and necessary means of creating sufficient vacancies to meet the Aims set out below:

  • safeguarding the high standards of the University in teaching, research and professional services
  • promoting inter-generational fairness and maintaining opportunities for career progression for those at particular stages of a career, given the importance of having available opportunities for progression across the generations
  • refreshing the academic, research and other professional workforce as a route to maintaining the University’s position on the international stage
  • facilitating succession planning by maintaining predictable retirement dates, especially in relation to the collegiate University's joint appointment system
  • promoting equality and diversity, noting that recent recruits are more diverse than the composition of the existing workforce, especially amongst the older age groups of the existing workforce

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The EJRA is intended to maintain turnover in support of its Aims, which include maintaining opportunities for career progression across the generations, promoting diversity, and refreshing the workforce.

The policy includes an exceptions procedure, under which individuals may apply for employment beyond the EJRA. Applications are considered by the EJRA Committee, with a right of appeal.

When the policy was established in 2011, it was agreed that the EJRA would initially operate for 10 years, with an interim review after five years. As reported in the Gazette of 25 September 2014, the University’s Appeal Court heard an appeal in 2014 and raised some issues regarding the EJRA policy and procedure. Council approved revisions to the Aims and Procedure to address these issues and to take account of case law and experience in operating the procedures. 

The five-year review began in 2015, when Council established a working group to review the policy. The working group reported to Council and Congregation in Hilary term 2017. Congregation debated the group’s proposals in Trinity term 2017, and voted to approve them. This was confirmed in a postal ballot.

In summary, the changes were:

  • that the coverage of the EJRA be adjusted to every employee of the University who holds a post at, or assessed as equivalent to, grade 8 or above
  • that the EJRA no longer apply to employees who hold a post at grades 6 and 7, and that employees at these grades therefore no longer have a normal or fixed retirement date
  • that the age for the EJRA be raised by one year to the 30 September preceding the 69th birthday
  • that an application for employment beyond an individual’s EJRA date should be made two years, instead of one year, in advance of their retirement date

The changes came into effect on 1 October 2017.

Later in Trinity term 2017, Congregation debated and voted on a resolution seeking the abolition of the EJRA. The resolution was defeated in the house and in a subsequent postal ballot. You can read the text of the Congregation debates as published in the Gazette on the Oxford University Gazette website.  

The 10-year review of the EJRA will begin in 2021.

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PROCEDURE

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  1. This paper sets out the procedure that will be used by the University for considering requests from academic and academic-related staff at grade 8 or above who are due to retire on or after reaching the Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) but who wish to extend their employment and consider that they have a strong case for doing so in light of the Aims and the issues to be taken into account in considering applications (Section VI below).

It is the policy of the University that all academic and academic-related staff who hold posts at, or assessed as equivalent to, grade 8 or above will have a fixed retirement date in order to support the Aims of the EJRA. This includes, in respect of their University appointments, the holders of joint appointments. Only in very exceptional circumstances, in which it is clear both that the extended employment of the particular employee is necessary in order to ensure the completion of a specific project or duties1 (or to gain the full benefit of a project already completed), and that the extension would not undermine the Aims, will any application under this procedure be approved. All requests to continue working beyond the EJRA submitted in accordance with Section II below will be considered in this context.


[1]Examples of projects and duties to be completed might include: the completion of a research project that can only be carried out by the individual concerned; the need for an individual to finish a teaching course for which it would not be possible to provide a replacement (for example, when the course is coming to an end).

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Informing staff of the EJRA and the process for requesting an extension

  1. The Head of Division or equivalent2 will remind academic staff in grade 8 or above in writing of their normal retirement date and of the process for requesting continuation in employment beyond that date, if possible, no later than 2.5 years before their retirement date under the EJRA. In the case of joint appointments, this notification will be copied to the relevant college(s). Where they judge it necessary, divisions may decide to give earlier notification, for example if it is considered advisable to initiate early discussion with a view to more effective planning for retirement.
  • Use template letter ML1 to give notice to academic staff nearing their EJRA date. Notice should be given at least 2.5 years in advance of that date
  • Use template letter ML3 to give notice to academic staff who are nearing the end of an EJRA extension, or who have an individually agreed retirement date
 
  1. The Head of Department or equivalent will remind all academic-related staff at grade 8 or above in writing of their normal retirement date and of the process for requesting continuation in employment beyond that date, if possible, no later than 2.5 years before their retirement date under the EJRA.
  • Use template ML2 to give notice to academic-related staff nearing their EJRA date. Notice should be given at least 2.5 years in advance of that date.
  • Use template letter ML4 to give notice to academic-related staff who are nearing the end of an EJRA extension, or who have an individually agreed retirement date.
 
  1. All requests for employment beyond the EJRA will be considered by the EJRA Committee in accordance with the timetable set out below. Meetings will be held once every six months and applications will be considered in gathered fields at those meetings in the light of the Aims and the issues to be taken into account, which are specified at section VI below.
  2. Any staff member who wishes to continue in employment beyond the EJRA and who believes that they have a strong case for doing so in light of the Aims and the issues to be considered (section VI) should first discuss their situation in good time with their Head of Department or equivalent. An academic member of staff might also wish to have an informal discussion with their Head of Division. Holders of joint appointments should also consult their colleges (normally the Senior Tutor). Similarly, where an honorary contract is held with another body, such as an NHS Trust, that other body should also be consulted.
  3. The aim of these discussions is to ensure that all options have been explored. The staff member and Head of Department should in all cases consider whether the individual’s and/or department’s aims could be achieved through use of a genuine non-employment arrangement following retirement (which should not present any obstacle to filling the newly-vacated role), such as a post-retirement honorary research agreement3 or visitor’s agreement. If so, the University’s expectation is that this course would be taken, rather than an application for an extension of employment being submitted. There is guidance on available non-employment options (please see the Retirement Guidance download on the right hand side of this page).
  4. In circumstances where non-employment options will not achieve the individual’s and/or the department’s aims, an application for extended employment will be needed. The application should address the impact of the proposed extension on the Aims of the EJRA and set out the case for an extension in the light of the matters for consideration at section VI.

It is expected that in all but very rare cases, those who hold permanent posts would need, as a minimum, to step out of their current post into a newly-created, fixed-term post, on a grade appropriate to the duties to be delivered. This is to make it possible for their substantive post to be refilled, thereby reducing any negative impact of the extension on the Aims of the EJRA.

  1. It is also expected that:
    1.  any extension of employment in a newly-created post will have contracted hours appropriate to the work to be delivered, and that its duration will be limited to that necessary to complete the project or duties for which the employment extension is being sought; and,
    2. in all but very rare cases, the applicant will have secured grant or other funding to cover their full costs (for example, including on-costs) while in employment beyond the EJRA.

When the proposed extension of employment involves reduced duties or working-time, it could be relevant to consider the option of flexible retirement which will allow the individual to take part of their pension to supplement a reduced salary.

  1. All post-EJRA employment will be on a fixed-term contract.
  2. In the case of joint appointments with the University and a college, the staff member may wish to continue working in only one part of the joint appointment, or one employer might wish to agree continued employment while the other does not. In these instances, the employers will wish to discuss how their respective interests in the future of the substantive joint appointment should be protected.

In the case of cross-departmental joint appointments, the lead employing department will take the lead on discussions with the applicant in consultation with the other employing department where relevant.

  1. These discussions, which should take place at any suitable time before the deadline for applications to the EJRA Committee, will help inform any formal request which might subsequently be made by the individual. Such discussions are intended to provide opportunity for the formulation of a request which will minimise the impact on the Aims of the EJRA and with which all parties will be content.
  2. Any request to continue working for the University beyond the EJRA in a University appointment or a joint University and college appointment should be made by the member of staff. It should be submitted by the member of staff in writing, following consultation with all interested parties, to the Director of Human Resources. In addition, any request relating to the college part of a joint appointment should be made to the relevant college according to its procedures.
  3. The submission should be made on Form EJRA1A for academic and research staff, or Form EJRA1B for professional and management staff, which should be completed as fully as possible.
  4. In the case of joint appointments with the University and a College, the submission should include comment from the College on any implications for the joint appointment that arise from the extension being sought to the University part of the individual's employment. In particular, the College should be asked to comment on any proposed arrangement that would result in the parts of the joint appointment being treated differently. Likewise, comment should be included from any other employer (for example, an NHS Trust) where employment by the University and by the other employer (including any honorary contract) are inter-related.

The applicant may append to the submission any supporting material that is directly relevant to the matters set out in Section VI. Testimonials will not be considered by the Committee.

  1. The normal deadline for submissions to reach the Director of Human Resources is the 30 September 24 months before the EJRA date. Electronic submissions are encouraged. Those with individual retirement dates (for example, dates other than 30 September prior to the 69th birthday, agreed before the introduction of the EJRA or resulting from an extension under the EJRA policy) should wherever possible submit any applications for further extended employment two years in advance of that date or, in any event, as soon as possible.

Applications should not be submitted more than three years in advance of the individual’s retirement date, except when the individual proposes to make a grant application that would necessitate their employment beyond the EJRA. Such applications will be considered at the next meeting of the EJRA Committee. If the Committee approves any such applications, the approval will be contingent upon the success of the grant application, and the contracted hours of the post-EJRA employment will normally be limited to those funded in full (for example, including on-costs) by the grant and any other additional applicable income arising from extended employment.

  1. Late requests may be submitted only in limited and exceptional circumstances. The Chair of the EJRA Committee will consider whether to accept any late requests and their decision will be final. The Chair will only accept late requests when the circumstances that necessitate the late request were clearly beyond the control of the applicant and/or department and could not reasonably have been anticipated.
  2. All requests submitted by the annual deadline will be sent to the relevant Head of Department who will be asked to consult the relevant departmental committee4 and to complete Form EJRA2A for academic and research staff, or Form EJRA2B for professional and management staff. Departments are expected to provide factual comment only on the form; there is no longer any requirement for departments to express their support or otherwise for applications.

In the case of cross-departmental appointments, the lead employing department will be asked to provide this information. That department's submission should confirm that other relevant departments(s) have been consulted, and it should report any information provided by them.

  1. Individual and departmental submissions will be collated and forwarded to the relevant Division. The Head of each Division will be asked to consult the appropriate divisional-level committee and to provide comment on the strategic importance of the proposed duties or project in each case. They will be asked to return their comments on Form EJRA3A for academic and research staff, or Form EJRA3B for professional and management staff, by a specified deadline.

Before the collated submissions are seen by the Committee, the applicant will have the opportunity to comment on the submissions made by their Department and Division, and the applicant may be asked to clarify in writing any point in their own submission that the Committee Chair considers to be unclear.


[2]Equivalents include, for example, the Registrar in relation to appointments within UAS, or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Resources and Information Systems) for departments within GLAM.

[3] Templates and guidance on laboratory and non-laboratory honorary research agreements will be provided.

[4] This might be the Faculty or Departmental Board, or an appropriate sub-committee, such as an appointments panel or local personnel committee. The applications will be sent for comment in a gathered field.

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  1. All requests to continue working beyond the EJRA will be considered by the EJRA Committee. The Committee will assess each request in the context of the Aims of the EJRA and the issues laid out at paragraphs 36-39.
  2. The EJRA Committee will meet at intervals of six months, normally in Michaelmas term and in Trinity term of each year.
  3. The Committee will consist of eight members, as follows:
    • chair: the Chair of the Personnel Committee
    • the representative on Personnel Committee of each of the four academic divisions (not the Head of Division)
    • a member of Personnel Committee who is also a member of University Administration and Services or a senior member of the division nominated by the Registrar
    • a member of Personnel Committee who is also a member of Gardens, Libraries and Museums or a senior member of the division nominated by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Gardens, Libraries and Museums)
    • an external member, nominated by the Chair
  4. Ordinarily, at least three members of the Committee shall be women and at least three shall be men.
  5. The Director of Human Resources will service the Committee and will arrange for it to receive legal and other advice as required.
  6. The EJRA Committee shall be quorate when five out of eight members are present. If the Chair is unable to attend the meeting, they shall invite another member of the Committee to take the chair.
  7. If the Chair agrees that an application submitted outside of the normal timetable should be considered eg where a more rapid decision is essential to meet the deadline for submission of a grant application (see Paragraph 15), the application shall be considered by correspondence. In all other cases, applications will be considered in the normal timetable.
  8. In the case of the consideration of requests involving both parts of a joint appointment, the Chair of the Committee will liaise with the chair of the equivalent College body over matters of process, including the relative timings of the work of the two panels and the communication between the panels of their decisions, as may best suit the individual case and allow for issues relating to the joint nature of the post to addressed.
  9. The Committee will consider the request in the light of the Aims of the EJRA, taking into account the considerations set out in Section VI and having considered the submissions by the staff member, the department and the division, and relevant information provided by the College and/or NHS Trust, as appropriate. The Committee will seek any clarification it deems necessary.
  10. The Committee will decide on the request for extension of employment including the length of time of any such extension. Their decision shall have effect in respect of employment with the University, and the division/department shall act accordingly. In the case of joint appointments, the College will make its decision in respect of College employment according to its own regulations and procedures.

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  1. The Committee will inform the applicant, the department, the division and, where appropriate, the College of its decision in writing. The letter will specify the length of any extension granted and any conditions imposed upon that extension by the Committee.
  2. Where the request to continue working beyond the EJRA is rejected or is granted on different terms than those requested, the individual will be notified in writing of the right of appeal to the University Appeal Panel.
  3. Where a decision is taken under these procedures to extend employment beyond the EJRA, the individual will be issued with a fixed-term contract, to terminate at the date set by the EJRA Committee in agreeing to the extension. This contract will state the details of the specific hours, duties, salary and other terms and conditions.

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  1. Any appeal against the decision of the EJRA Committee must be notified in writing by the staff member to the Registrar within 28 days of receipt of the letter confirming the Committee’s decision.
  2. An appeal may be made against the refusal of a request or against the terms of approval where they differ from those requested by the staff member.
  3. The letter of appeal should set out clearly the grounds for the appeal.
  4. The appeal will be heard by the University Appeal Panel in accordance with the procedure set out in Council Regulations 1 of 2017.

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  1. It is the policy of the University that academic and academic-related staff in posts at, or equivalent to, grade 8 or above will have a fixed retirement date in order to support the Aims of the EJRA. Only in the most exceptional circumstances, in which it is clear both that the extended employment is required to ensure the accomplishment of a specific project or duties (or to gain the full benefit of a project already completed) and that the extension would not undermine the Aims, will any application under this procedure be approved.

The EJRA policy and the procedure for considering applications for employment beyond the EJRA are intended to support the Aims set out as part of the policy. In order to achieve the Aims, it is expected that:

  1. any extension of employment will, in any circumstance in which the applicant occupies an academic post or a permanent position of any other type (for example, they are not already working on a fixed-term contract), involve the applicant vacating their permanent post and moving to a fixed-term contract on an appropriate grade
  2. the applicant must identify in their application all possible means of supporting the salary and other costs (including on-costs, space, equipment and other resources) associated with their proposed role. It is expected that in all but very rare cases, applications will only be approved where the individual has secured funding to cover their costs while in employment beyond the EJRA. This is to ensure that:
  • there is no financial detriment to the University as a result of the extension
  • there is no financial impediment to the refilling of the applicant’s permanent post
  1. Applications will still be considered if these expectations cannot be met, but only in very rare cases will individuals be successful if they apply to remain in a permanent post, preventing its being refilled, or if their proposal does not include the means to cover their employment costs in full.
  2. In all cases, the Committee will bear in mind that all staff are expected to carry out their roles to a high standard. In the case of academic and research staff, this includes distinguished scholarship and research. Senior academic and research staff will often be world-leaders in their field. The offer of distinguished scholarship does not constitute a relevant consideration for the purposes of this procedure.
  3. The list below outlines the type of matters that the Committee will take into account in making their decision.
    1. Is there a demonstrable need, for a defined period, to retain the applicant in employment to complete a specific project or duties, or to gain the full benefit of tasks already completed by him or her, which:
      1. are of particular strategic importance to the University
      2. could not be completed by any other individual who is not over the EJRA, either by a current member of the University’s staff or through a recruitment exercise
      3. in the case of prospective or current grant-funded research projects, could not, in accordance with the funder’s rules, be completed on a non-employed, or voluntary basis
      4. could not be completed on an employment contract with fewer working hours or of a shorter duration?
    2. Are there any special personal circumstances that would properly justify exceptional treatment?
    3. Will the proposed extension result in the creation of career development opportunities for others that would not otherwise have been created?
    4. Is there a demonstrable need that arises in connection with a specific event or circumstance and that could only be met by retaining this particular employee in employment for a fixed period?
    5. In the case of a joint appointment, what are the implications for the joint nature of the post eg where the request involves only one part of a joint appointment, has some suitable means been found of managing the future of the joint appointment to protect the shared interests of the University and College?
    6. In the case of clinical academics, is the NHS Trust concerned willing to renew the employee's honorary contract? The holding of an honorary contract is prerequisite for continuation in a clinical post.

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  1. A member of academic or academic-related staff whose retirement has been set later than the EJRA may apply for a further extension under the procedures in Sections II-VI above, provided that they do so in accordance with the normal procedures and, where possible, observe normal deadlines. It should be noted that a further extension will only be granted if it is essential to address unforeseeable circumstances that have frustrated the purpose for which the original extension was granted.

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FORMS
Applicant in academic or research post Applicant in professional and management post

EJRA1A

Form to be completed by applicant

EJRA1B

Form to be completed by applicant

EJRA2A

Form to be completed by department /faculty

EJRA2B

Form to be completed by department /faculty

EJRA3A

Form to be completed by division

EJRA3B

Form to be completed by division

 

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This is a summary of the EJRA application process. Before completing an application form, applicants should read the full EJRA Procedure carefully to ensure a full understanding of the issues that the EJRA Committee will take into account in considering applications. There is also an EJRA process map available in Documents on the right hand side of this page to help illustrate the process.

All requests for employment beyond the EJRA are considered by the EJRA Committee in accordance with the timetable and Procedure. Applications will be considered in gathered fields every six months, normally in December and June.

  • Employees seeking an EJRA extension are responsible for making an application using either form EJRA1A (for academic and research staff) or form EJRA1B (for professional and management staff). The form normally must be received by the Director of Human Resources no later than 24 months before the applicant's retirement date.
  • The HR Directorate will then send the completed EJRA1A/B form to the applicant’s Head of Department, who will be asked to consult the relevant departmental committee and use form EJRA2A/B to respond.
  • The Department will then be asked to send the completed EJRA1A/B and 2A/B forms to the relevant Head of Division. The Head of Division will be asked to consult the appropriate divisional-level committee in order to comment on the strategic importance of the proposed duties or project. The Division will be asked to complete form EJRA3A/B accordingly.  
  • The Head of Division will then be asked to send the completed EJRA3A/B form back to the Director of HR.
  • Applicants then have the opportunity to review and comment on the departmental and divisional forms before they are submitted to the EJRA Committee. The applicant may also be asked to clarify in writing any point in their own submission that the Committee Chair considers unclear. 
  • There is a timetable for each stage of this process available in the Timetable tab above.

Please note that the EJRA Procedure stresses the importance of early discussion with the Head of Department or equivalent to consider whether it would be possible to meet the aims of the employee or the department other than by an extension in employment. Any employee considering seeking extended employment should take advice, independent where appropriate, on how this might affect their pension entitlement and related tax liabilities.

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  • The report PERDEP07 should be run to identify employees approaching their EJRA date.
  • All staff at grade 8 or above should be sent a retirement letter at least 2.5 years in advance of their retirement date. More information is available in the Retirement section (LINK TO BE INSERTED)

For CoreHR users, please remember that the ‘Retirement Date’ field in the personal details screen should be ignored as this field does not reflect current legislation and the University's EJRA.

  • An EJRA UDF should be created in CoreHR for all employees who request to work beyond the EJRA, regardless of the outcome of their application. Further guidance on completing the EJRA UDF is available in HRIS’s QRG CH27 Recording and maintaining EJRA data.
  • If an employee’s EJRA extension request is approved, a new fixed-term contract must be issued. Further guidance on managing this process in CoreHR is available in HRIS’s QRG CH25 Extending employment beyond the EJRA.
 

 

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TIMETABLE

Applications for EJRA extensions are considered by the EJRA Committee in gathered field exercises every six months, normally in December and June.

The EJRA application forms are available in the ‘Forms’ tab.

Timetable for autumn 2019 application round

Deadline for individuals to send completed EJRA 1 form to Director of Human Resources at julian.duxfield@admin.ox.ac.uk 30 September 2019 
Deadline for departments to submit forms EJRA 1 and EJRA 2 to Head of Division 21 October 2019
Deadline for Head of Division to send EJRA 1, EJRA 2 and EJRA 3 forms to Director of Human Resources 11 November 2019
Deadline for individuals to respond to the departmental and divisional submissions 19 November 2019

 

 
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