Approaching retirement

Frequently Asked Questions

Approaching Retirement

Retirement

The College terms and conditions state that with College consent, as a member of staff you have the option to retire from age 55 (age 50 if you are a pension scheme members who has a protected pension age) with reduced pension benefits.  It is unlawful under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (“the Regulations”) to make it compulsory for a member of staff to retire. (Please note that on reaching the age of 60, you may opt to retire early with reduced pension benefits by resigning with the normal period of notice required by your terms and conditions of service).

Achieving 40 years pensionable service

If you have achieved over 40 years’ service in USS or SAUL you can continue paying contributions.  With effect from 1/4/06 the Rule on maximum service was changed. There is no restriction on the amount of pensionable service you can accumulate in SAUL or USS up to age 75.  If you opt to continue paying into your College pension scheme, the College will also continue to contribute.     For details on the NHSPS please contact the College Pensions’ team: pensions@imperial.ac.uk

Preparing for Retirement

If you are retiring you will need to give the Pensions’ team at least two months' notice for USS and SAUL and three months' notice for NHS, in order to ensure that your Pension Scheme benefits are paid on time. It would be advisable to check that your Departmental Operating Manager has notified HR in good time.

Working after Retirement

USS require us to sign a declaration on behalf of the College on all retirement forms to the effect that the member will not be continuing in pensionable employment. Therefore, in cases of re-employment, we will require a definitive retirement situation with a minimum of a month’s break in College service. Please note that if USS members who are made redundant between age 50 and 55 are re-employed at the College, any USS Institution or any employer connected with the College (e.g. Imperial NHS Trust) within six months of retirement (even in a non-pensionable post) their retirement benefits will be deemed unauthorised payments by the Revenue and subject to tax.

SAUL will allow part time non-pensionable re-employment, however, there must be a definitive retirement situation and a month’s break in service.

The NHS does allow re-employment as long as their criteria is met.

In retirement on medical grounds USS, SAUL and the NHS will abate or suspend the pension if a member is re-employed.  USS has strict criteria in these cases and continual monitoring. Please contact your HR adviser for further details.

Early Retirement

Interested in Early Retirement?

There are several options if you are considering early retirement.

Voluntary Early Retirement - You can discuss early retirement with your line manager   if you are age 55 or over (age 50 if you are a pension scheme member who has a protected pension age).  In the meantime if you require a quotation of benefits, please contact the College Pensions Office at pensions@imperial.ac.uk.

Flexible Retirement - This is only permissible in USS and the NHS 2008/2015 sections if you are age 55 or over.  Flexible retirement allows you to draw a proportion of your pension and tax-free cash and continue working on a part-time basis i.e. with reduced hours and salary. The College will require three months’ notice of the date you intend to flexibly retire.

USS  - you will need the College’s consent to a long-term reduction in your working hours and salary of at least 20% each time you flex. This reduction must apply for at least 12 months and would enable you to draw up to a maximum of 80% of your pension benefits. You can flexibly retire twice whilst continuing to work. On the third occasion you would have to fully retire.

NHS 2008/2015 sections – you will need the College’s consent to a long-term reduction in your working hours and salary of at least 10% each time you flex. This reduction must apply for at least 12  months and would enable you to draw up to a maximum of 80% of your pension benefits. You can flexibly retire twice whilst continuing to work. On the third occasion you would have to fully retire. 

NHS 1995 section – Step down protection is available if you are age 55 or over (age 50 for some scheme members who have a protected pension age). This means you will be able to protect your higher pensionable pay if your salary reduces by at least 10% due to taking up a job in a less demanding role.

On Medical Grounds - If your health deteriorates so that you become permanently unable to do your job, you may apply to the Trustees for an immediate unreduced ill health early retirement pension. Please contact the Pensions Office at pensions@imperial.ac.uk for further information.

Pension Scheme Modellers