Retirement Options

We recommend that all our employees save for their retirement and plan for when they intend to take their pension, no matter what your age and how close to retirement you may be. We actively seek to support you in having a full and enjoyable retirement, and we encourage you to think about full or phased retirement and have a chat with your line manager and your HR Manager to understand the options. 

You can find guidance below about:

Retirement Options

Teachers Pensions, USS and the LGPS have broadly similar retirement options, summarised below.  NEST does not have the same options; you can simply choose to draw your benefits at any time from age 55 onwards, and you do not need to leave the University.

Normal ("Age") Retirement

  • Each scheme has a Normal Pension Age, linked to the State Pension Age.  This is the age when you can leave the University to retire and take the pension you have built up in full, without any penalty.
  • To take full retirement you have to formally end your employment by giving the University formal written notice of the date you intend to retire (see below).  There is no written policy - you simply need to give the University and the pension scheme the appropriate notifications (see below).

Early Retirement and Flexible/Phased Retirement (Voluntary)

    • These are related but different voluntary options (not for pension benefits linked to redundancy or efficiency - see the next section). "Actuarially reduced" means your pension is permanently reduced because you have accessed your pension early.

Early Retirement (or Actuarially Adjusted Benefits)

Flexible or Phased Retirement

Members with the minimum pensionable service may have the option to leave the University before their Normal Pension Age and retire fully. (However you are not prevented from returning to the University during your retirement.)

Members with the minimum pensionable service may have the option to access their pension before their Normal Pension Age without having to fully retire. You are not ending your employment with the University, but you do need to reduce your contract. This may be part of a more gradual transition into full retirement. Please note that the amounts you receive as salary and pension will both be taken into account when assessing you for income tax purposes.

There is no automatic right to be re-employed by the University following voluntary early retirement, but re-employment is not prohibited subject to normal appointment processes. [In Teachers Pensions your final salary pension will be affected if your pension and re-employment earnings exceed your salary of reference.]

You can continue to work for the University.

Available from age 55 at the earliest.

Available from age 55 at the earliest.

You have to formally end your employment by giving the University written notice of the date you intend to retire.

You must ask the University to agree both:

  • a flexible working arrangement (for example a reduction in your working hours), and
  • to flexibly access your pension benefits while continuing to work.

Being allowed to work flexibly does not automatically mean you will be allowed to access your pension.

You have to give your pension scheme formal notice that you wish to access your benefits (see Giving Notice below).

If both requests are approved you then have to give your pension scheme formal notice that you wish to access your benefits (see Giving Notice below).

You must take all the pension benefits you have accrued to date in the relevant pension scheme.

Each scheme differs in what contract reduction is required, and the maximum proportion of your pension benefits you can access flexibly.

Teachers Pensions / USS

Your pension will be actuarially reduced.

LGPS

Between age 55 and 59 inclusive your pension will be actuarially reduced.

From age 60 onwards, your pension will be actuarially reduced unless you have been an LGPS member since 30 Sept 2006 and some or all of your benefits are protected by the 85 year rule.

Teachers Pensions / USS

Your pension will be actuarially reduced.

LGPS

From age 55 onwards your pension will be actuarially reduced unless you have been an LGPS member since 30 Sept 2006 and some or all of your benefits are protected by the 85 year rule.

Teachers Pensions / USS

There is no cost to the University.

LGPS

Between age 55 and 59 inclusive there is no cost to the University.

From age 60 onwards, there is no cost to the University unless you are protected by the 85 year rule.

Teachers Pensions / USS

There is no cost to the University.

LGPS

There is no cost to the University unless you are protected by the 85 year rule.

Teachers Pensions: You need the University's consent, but the University cannot withhold consent for more than 6 months.

USS: You need the University's consent.

LGPS

You do not need the University's consent.

You need the University's consent. The University will only give this consent where there is no cost to the employer (see above).

See our Early Retirement Procedure for details.

See our Flexible Working and Flexible Access to Pension Procedure for details, and also see our comprehensive section on Balancing work and life for more details.

The University has exercised some of its discretions in the LGPS scheme.  See our LGPS Discretions Policy Statement .

Premature Retirement / Early Retirement through Redundancy or Business Efficiency

  • This is NOT the same as voluntary early retirement (see above).
  • It only applies when a staff member aged 55 or over is made redundant or leaves on efficiency grounds (led by the employer) before Normal Pension Age (NPA).
  • In Teachers Pensions, the University will not normally consent to pay Premature Retirement benefits in this situation.
  • In LGPS, an eligible pension member who meets the criteria will automatically receive the early pension benefits, and the University cannot withhold consent.

Ill Health Retirement

  • In the unfortunate event that you are too unwell to continue in your role, there may be the option of Ill Health Retirement which provides early, unreduced (or even enhanced) access to your pension.  Your HR Manager can help you to explore this option as part of supportive discussions around your ill health.
  • An Ill Health Retirement Procedure can be found in Appendix C of the Capability Procedure.

State Pension

You may also get a state pension from the Government in addition to your workplace or 'occupational' pension.

Giving Notice (for Normal, Early or Flexible Retirement)

You will need to give both the University and the pension scheme the appropriate notifications.

For normal age retirement and full early retirement, send a letter or email to your line manager, copied to Human Resources, stating that you are ending your employment in order to retire.  The notice required to end your employment is set out in your contract (statement of particulars) and is normally either one month or three months (see here for our standard notice periods).  Copies of your contract are available from your HR Assistant.

For normal, early and flexible/phased retirement you should check how much notice you need to give your pension scheme before you can access your benefits (this may for example be three months notice so you will need to plan ahead). You have to formally notify your pension scheme that you wish to access your pension benefits; the University is not allowed to do this on your behalf.  Each scheme has different processes and forms which can normally be accessed via their website or through a helpline.  Contact details for each scheme are available here.

Please note that in some cases the pension scheme may need more notice to access pension benefits than you have to give the University to terminate your contract.  Make sure you coordinate applying for your pension and giving the University notice so that you can retire when you want to and there's no gap between your last month of paid employment and your first monthly instalment of your annual pension.

Planning for Retirement

Retiring from your place of work is a time of significant change. To help you understand the issues around retiring we offer a Retirement Planning workshop. This covers everything from financial matters to staying healthy and coping with the emotional transition from employment to retirement.

The workshop is of half day duration and takes place annually usually during the second semester. 

Course content:

  • Retirement and managing change
  • Money in retirement
  • Pensions
  • Taxation
  • Savings and investments
  • Legal issues
  • Health and lifestyle

Target audience

The workshop is recommended to staff considering retirement within the next 1-2 years.

How to book:

Please contact staff.development@sunderland.ac.uk

Trainer:

Blackett Walker Ltd.

This page was published on 21 October 2016