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Applying for flexible retirement

Understand how to apply for flexible retirement and the options that are available.

How to apply for flexible retirement

To apply for flexible retirement, you'll need to follow the flexible working request procedure and give your completed application form to your line manager for discussion. Your form should include the following details:

  • the reason for the request

  • the change applied for and the proposed effective date

  • the proposed percentage reduction in hours

  • the proposed dates and details regarding any anticipated further flexes and final leaving date (if applicable)

  • the proposed new work activity

  • an explanation regarding the potential impact of the change applied for and how this might work so that the request could be managed without a reduction to the service provided

Following a discussion with you, your Head of Department or line manager will consult with the Dean or Head of Professional Service regarding whether or not the flexible retirement request can be supported. Consideration will be given to the following:

  • the impact of any additional costs

  • the potential impact on the service provided to students and staff

  • the ability of the department to re-organise work among existing staff or the ability to recruit additional staff to cover any gaps

  • the potential impact on quality or operational performance

  • the opportunity for succession planning

  • the availability of work during the periods proposed

  • how the proposed change fits with any anticipated structural changes in the department or faculty

  • how the proposed changes fit with the operational needs of the department or faculty

Once a decision has been made, your Head of Department or line manager will inform you and your HR Manager of the details of the change agreed or the reasons for refusal.

Once approved, you should contact the Pensions Officer in order to complete the USS notification form. Human Resources will write to you detailing the variation to your contract and also inform Payroll. Once the pension comes into payment, the decision to take flexible retirement is irreversible.

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)

Members age 55 or over can apply to reduce their working hours (by at least 20%) and/or move to a lower graded post and draw all their pension benefits whilst carrying on working. Full details of the LGPS rules are available on the Avon Pension Fund website.

If you select to reduce your hours in order to take flexible retirement, you will not subsequently be eligible for overtime payments. You also will not be able to increase your hours or move into a post on a higher grade whilst employed by the University.

Applications will only be approved when supported by the Head of Department or Head of Professional Service and where there is no cost to the University. Final approval is required from the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Finance and Commercial Services. Once approved, members should apply in writing to Avon Pensions Fund (an application form can be found on their website). Where applications are not supported by the University, you have the right to appeal.

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

Subject to approval, members aged 55 or over can take flexible retirement and draw between 20% and 80% of their pension, plus the lump sum built up whilst continuing in pensionable employment. For posts in the Faculties and School, this must be approved by the Dean. Approval for posts in professional services will be required from the Director of Finance and Commercial Services.

This is on the condition that both the working hours and the salary are reduced by a minimum of 20% and that there is no return to full time employment within a 12 month period. Flexible retirement is not available to variable time members in USS.

USS members can flex on up to two occasions, but on the third occasion they must retire. These two occasions may occur within 12 months of the original flex. If a member draws 80% on their first flex, they must fully retire in order to draw further benefits. It should be noted that USS require a minimum of two months’ notice from approval to flexible retirement taking effect. You should therefore start the process at least six months in advance, to allow sufficient time for the process to be completed. If an application is unsuccessful, you have the right to appeal.

Full details of the USS Rules are available on the USS website.

Apply for flexible retirement

Download the application form

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