Retirement, Flexible Retirement and Late-Career Planning Procedure

1. Introduction

The purpose of this procedure is to set out a transparent process for employees who wish to retire. It also describes the process for employees wishing to take flexible retirement, and the support available to employees to inform their retirement planning.

2. Scope

This procedure applies to all University employees.

3. Normal Retirement age

3.1. The normal retirement age for the University of Sheffield is currently 65. This means that employees reaching age 65 may choose to retire using the Retirement Resignation procedure set out below and take their occupational pension where appropriate. Similarly it is recognised that employees may wish to use the procedure to retire before or after age 65.

3.2. Employees are advised to consider their pension provision and take independent financial advice before making any decision in relation to retirement.

4. Retirement Resignation procedure

4.1. Employees thinking about retirement resignation or flexible retirement options are encouraged to discuss their plans with Line Managers as early as possible.

4.2. When an employee decides to retire, they should inform their Line Manager in writing and as far in advance as possible, and in any event, in accordance with their contractual notice period as stated in the terms and conditions of employment for their grade.

4.3. The written notice letter should state clearly that they wish to resign to retire, including the date on which they wish the resignation to become effective.

4.4. For academic/teaching employees, it should be noted that appointments are terminable at any time by 3 months notice from either side, the notice normally taking effect (except in the case of non-teaching employees) at the end of a University Semester.

4.5. Should an employee who is a pension scheme member wish to retire, they should note that it can take up to 3 months for pension payments to be processed. As such it as advised that an employee provides as much notice as possible, in order to avoid possible delays in the payment of they pension.

4.6. When a letter of resignation is received, the Line Manager should arrange a leaving discussion with the employee in order to gather information needed to trigger the Human Resources process and discuss handover arrangements. See the downloads section for a pro-forma to help facilitate this discussion.

You should also discuss arrangements for retirement, including any succession and handover plans, and flexible retirement arrangements (if applicable).

4.7 The Line Manager should complete the online leavers form to inform Human Resources that the employee is leaving. The written notification must be attached.

4.8. Upon receipt of the confirmed resignation details, HR will issue a letter to the employee confirming their resignation and the date on which their employment with the University will cease.

5. Flexible Retirement

5.1. Employees may wish to explore opportunities to seek to reduce their hours, or work in a different role, whilst claiming some of their pension in the time approaching their planned retirement. Should this be something an employee wishes to explore, s/he should speak in the first instance with his/her Head of Department.

5.2. The minimum age for flexible retirement is 55.

5.3. Requests to reduce hours, or work in a different role under a flexible retirement arrangement, will first need to be considered on the basis of the impact on the overall running of the department. In some circumstances there may be reasons why such requests cannot be accommodated, and the Head of Department should discuss the reasons with the employee, after seeking advice from Human Resources. If the employee has a concern in relation to the outcome they should raise this in accordance with the Grievance procedure.

5.4. Flexible retirement will also be agreed in accordance with the rules of the relevant pension scheme and subject to University agreement.

6. Early Retirement

6.1. An employee may wish to seek to leave employment (referred to as Early Retirement) and draw his/her pension prior to the normal retirement age (the minimum age for early retirement being 55).

6.2. Any employee considering retirement before the normal retirement age should refer to the Pensions team for further information on how early retirement might impact on his/her pension benefits.

6.3. Retirement between ages 55 and 65 will be in accordance with the rules of the relevant pension scheme and subject to University agreement.

7. Support for Career and Retirement planning

7.1. Beginning at age 55, in line with the minimum age for early retirement (see Section 6), the University will write to employees periodically to ensure that employees are aware of the support available to them in relation to career/retirement planning.

7.2. The University of Sheffield offers a Planning for Retirement seminar as part of its programme of support for employees.

7.3. Information relating to retirement may be sought from the Department of Human Resources and Pensions. Support is also available to staff from their Trade Union.

8. Career Discussions

8.1. The University encourages all employees to have regular career discussions with their Line Manager or their Head of Department. This discussion may include departmental and employee’s future plans in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

8.2. During such discussions employees may wish to explore their future plans or proposals for retirement. Discussions could provide an opportunity for both employees and their managers to plan jointly and explore opportunities for the future (e.g. flexible working, taking on responsibilities for training/mentoring successors, etc).

8.3. The employee may seek to discuss future plans with his/her Line Manager or Head of Department in a number of ways, including via regular one-to-ones, a request for a stand-alone meeting, or during his/her annual SRDS review.

8.4. Any discussion about possible future retirement will be treated in confidence and not prejudice the employee’s future employment or the perception of the employee’s commitment to the University. Nor will such discussions constitute formal notice that an employee wishes to either change or terminate his/her working arrangements.

9. Succession Planning

9.1. Employees considering retirement will have valuable knowledge, skills and experience. Managers will need to plan for the ongoing running of the department once the employee has retired, and the employee is encouraged to work with his/her department as early as possible to ensure a smooth transition/handover wherever reasonably possible. This may include:

  • Providing full details of the status of work, projects, and future requirements;
  • Ensuring a smooth handover of work;
  • Assisting in training and mentoring of a successor.

Document Control
Last Updated: 07/17
Date of Next Review: 07/18