USS flexible retirement

University employees who are members of USS and are aged over 55 may now apply to the university for flexible retirement. This allows accrued pension benefits to be paid before the normal age of retirement, while the employee continues to work at the university and to draw a salary. In most cases the pension benefits payable will be actuarially reduced to reflect the fact that they are being paid early, and therefore, potentially for a longer period.

Scheme rules require that to apply for flexible retirement both hours of work and salary must be reduced by at least 20% and the employer must certify that this reduction will apply for a minimum of 12 months. At least 20% of the employee’s benefits must be retained in the scheme as a residual benefit. Service after the flexible retirement date will be added to that residual service. Two flexible retirement events can occur before final retirement but in each case the hours of work and salary must be reduced by at least 20% and at least 20% of benefits must be retained in the scheme. For full details of the scheme you should refer to the USS website.

The university will consider applications for flexible retirement on the basis of the operational needs of the university.


Applications should be made through the standard procedure for requesting changes to an employee’s hours of pattern of work, including the formal request for flexible retirement as part of the reduced work package. The line Manager and link HR Manager will hold a meeting with the applicant within 28 calendar days of receiving the estimate, to discuss the outcome and whether the application can be guaranteed.

Applications should be raised initially with the employee’s line Manager and Dean/Director. If the application is supported in principle, access to lower graded posts may be secured through either the redeployment or recruitment procedures.

Where a voluntary severance scheme is in operation, the University will consider flexible retirement together with partial severance.