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This guidance provides you with information on your retirement options at the College for active and deferred pension scheme members and advises on ways we can assist and support you to plan for, and adapt to, the prospect of retirement.

The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework in place. Implementation of this procedure must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.

Retirement Options

Staff guidance

What are my options?

You are free to decide when you wish to retire once you have reached 55. You may wish to discuss with your Line Manager whether it might be possible to reduce your working hours in the run up to full retirement and access your pension flexibly.

The timing will depend on a number of factors both work-related and personal. Your own personal circumstances, your financial position, whether your role can be undertaken in a flexible way and what work life balance you aspire to will be a big influence. Please note if your role is revised this may change your terms and conditions.

You will find the different retirement options the college offers set out below: -

FULL RETIREMENT

Most staff can retire, stop working at the College altogether, and access their pension from 55. However, if you are retiring before age 65 (or for some staff, before age 60) your pension will be reduced (this is because your pension is expected to be paid for longer than it would have been).  You can obtain an estimate of your expected pension by contacting the Pensions Office.  Regardless of your contractual notice period it is advisable to give three months’ notice to enable all the paperwork to be processed in good time to avoid payment delays.

If you intend to retire you need to complete a leavers form and submit to your line manager.

FLEXIBLE RETIREMENT

If you are a member of the NHS 2008 or 2015 scheme, or a USS member and are aged 55 or over, you have the option of accessing a proportion of your pension and lump sum while continuing to work, but with either reduced salary or a reduction in hours. You are able to flexibly access your pension twice whilst continuing to work before retiring finally.

SAUL do not currently offer the option of flexible retirement.

 
NHS 2008 & 2015USS

Salary must be reduced by a minimum of 10% at each flex. This can either be by reducing working hours (e.g. working 10% fewer hours a week) or by reducing your salary (e.g. by giving up an allowance you currently receive that is at least 10% of your overall salary)

Can draw between 20% and 80% of pension                    

Salary and working hours must be reduced by between 20% and 80% at each flex

Can draw between 20% and 80% of pension

Summary of the table's contents

The decision on how much pension to access is yours but bear in mind pension payments are taxed, as is your salary from the College.

You will need the consent of your department.  Your line manager will need to consider the impact of your proposed work pattern on the department. So that they can do this you will need to give a proposal on how your work can be delivered.  You may need to be flexible here and there might need to be some give and take on both sides Your department will also need to agree the date your flexible retirement can commence along with the reduction of working hours and/or salary before approval can be granted.

If you wish to do this you need to complete a Partial/Flexible Retirement application form and email it to your Line Manager, Head of Department and Departmental Operating Manager for their consideration.  If your request is successful, your line manager will pass the form to Human Resources for processing. You will then receive confirmation in writing.  If your request is unsuccessful your line manager will let you know and will explain the reasons why. If your request was unsuccessful you may not make another request until one year has passed.

PARTIAL RETIREMENT

In some circumstances you may be able to draw all of your pension and be rehired on a new contract. If you are retiring before age 65 (or 60 for some) your pension may still be reduced. You can check your retirement age and request a quotation by contacting The Pensions Office.

You will need the consent of your department.  When considering if they can accommodate your request they will take into account whether this fits with the operational needs of the department. So that they can do this you will need to give a proposal on how your work can be delivered.  You may need to be flexible here there might need to be some give and take on both sides.  If re-employment can be offered it will be after a break of at least a calendar month and will only be in a part-time role with a maximum of 50% of full time hours.  You will be issued with a new contract of employment which will normally last for a maximum of five years but could be for less.

Upon commencing your new contract, you will automatically be entered into the pension scheme as the College has a duty to auto enroll all staff.  You may opt-out of the scheme if you wish.

If you wish to request partial retirement you need to complete a Partial/Flexible Retirement application form and email it to your Line Manager, Head of Department and Departmental Operating Manager for their consideration.  If your request is successful, your line manager will pass the form to Human Resources for processing along with a new contract request.

If your request is unsuccessful your line manager will let you know and will explain the reasons why and you may not make another request until one year has passed.

HOW WE CAN SUPPORT YOU

RETIREMENT PLANNING WORKSHOPS

If you are considering taking your pension you should understand how much your retirement income will be and make sure you have what you need for the whole of your retirement.

To help you with this the College provides a Planning for Retirement Workshop to assist you with your plan.

Key areas that are covered are: -

  • Your College pension
  • Flexible retirement options and part-time working
  • The State pension
  • How to save more for retirement
  • Investments
  • Taxation
  • Estate planning and inheritance
  • Long term care costs
  • Life after work

If you wish to book a place on the next workshop please email rsvp-pensions to register your interest.

ILL-HEALTH RETIREMENTS

This guidance is for those who are in good health and wish to retire after age 55. If you believe your health may prevent you from working and you wish to explore the possibility of taking early retirement (possibly before age 55) because of it you should visit the Occupational Health team’s site to explore your options.

Summary of the table's contents

Managers' guidance

What are the options?

 

Full Retirement

Most staff are able to retire after they reach age 55, although some SAUL staff retain a right to retire after age 50. Any staff that retire before age 65 (or 60 for some – and there may be a cost to the College, and therefore your department, if they do) will have their pension reduced accordingly.  Staff do not need your permission to retire, however, they are required to serve at least their contractual notice period.  Ideally all staff should give three months’ notice of their intention to retire.

Staff may also wish to attend a Retirement Planning workshop before they retire.  This usually lasts three hours.

Once you have received the Retirement Form please pass to your HR contact immediately to enable the maximum time for all parties to process

FLEXIBLE RETIREMENT

If your member of staff is in USS or the 2008 or 2015 sections of the NHS pension scheme they have the option of requesting flexible retirement. SAUL does not currently offer a flexible retirement arrangement.

Flexible retirement allows a member of staff to begin receiving some of their pension already earned and at the same time to continue to work but in a reduced capacity, either fewer working hours or a reduction in salary; see table below:

 
NHS 2008 & 2015USS

Salary must be reduced by a minimum of 10% at each flex. This can either be by reducing working hours (e.g. working 10% fewer hours a week) or by reducing your salary (e.g. by giving up an allowance you currently receive that is at least 10% of your overall salary)                                           

Can request to draw between 20% and 80% of pension

Salary and working hours must be reduced by between 20% and 80% at each flex

Can request to draw between 20% and 80% of pension

NHS vs USS flexible retirement rules

Flexible retirement requires departmental consent and any staff requesting will send you a Partial/Flexible Retirement Application Form which they will also send to the Head of Department and Departmental Operations Manager.

The request must set out the date they would like reduced working to start and the hours they wish to work after they have accessed some pension.

You will need to review the proposal and decide whether the requested work pattern will meet the operational needs of your department.  You are able to refuse a request or suggest an alternative work pattern that does work.

If you agree to the request the Partial/Flexible Retirement Application Form must be submitted to Human Resources as soon as possible.  Flexible retirement may take place three months after the application has been approved and will not be able to be processed if the flexible retirement date is less than two months away.

PARTIAL RETIREMENT

In some cases, it may be appropriate to agree to Partial Retirement.  This allows a member of staff to draw all their accrued pension and return to work at the College after a break in service on a new contract of employment. There are restrictions on duration and working hours which are set out below:

  • Minimum break in service is one calendar month
  • Maximum hours allowed on return to work 50% Full Time Equivalent
  • Maximum contract length of five years
  • New contract of employment is pensionable

A Partial Retirement request requires your consent.  The request will be emailed to you along with the Head of Department and the Departmental Operations Manager for your consideration.

You will need to review the proposal and decide whether the request will meet the operational needs of your department.  You are able to refuse a request or suggest an alternative that does work.

If you agree to the request, you will need to send the Partial/Flexible Retirement form to Human Resources along with a leavers form and the information HR require to write a new contract for the member of staff. Human Resources will write to the member of staff and confirm the process.  Retirement cannot take place until three months after the request has been approved.

To ensure consistent application of this policy there will not be local departmental discretion to extend employment beyond the parameters outlined above.  The Faculty Deans and Directors of Support Services in conjunction with their Strategic HR Partner will review any requests for application of discretion to the policy using the following criteria:

  • Commitment to teaching a particular programme
  • Work on a specific project/research grant that requires a longer period than five years
  • Strategic role that requires specialist recruitment
  • Supporting role during departmental transformation or restructure
  • Business continuity

Things to consider when you receive a Flexible or Partial Retirement request

When considering whether you are able to accommodate the request it’s a good idea to think about the following:

  • Economic factors
  • Business needs
  • Capacity to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • Impact on quality
  • Impact on performance
  • Ability to recruit additional staff
  • Planned structural changes
  • Succession planning
  • Allocation of space

If you have considered a request but are unable to accommodate it, you must let the member of staff know as soon as possible and give the reason for the refusal.  Staff are not able to appeal the decision and may not apply for partial or flexible retirement again until one year has passed.

RETIREMENT PLANNING WORKSHOPS  

The College regularly run Retirement Planning workshops to help staff manage the transition from work into retirement. Staff are actively encouraged to attend and some of your staff may have received an invitation to attend.