Decision and considerations

Decision

Flexible retirement may only be granted with the consent of the University.

Requests linked to the EJRA.  Where a flexible retirement application forms part of a request to continue working beyond the EJRA, the decision on the EJRA application will be taken by the EJRA panel, as part of the EJRA procedures.

Other requests.  In all other cases, it is for the head of division (for academics) or head of department (for other staff), in consultation with others as appropriate, to decide whether or not flexible retirement would serve the best interests of the University.

All requests should be given timely and careful consideration and should not be rejected unreasonably, but:

  • the division or department may reject an application outright; or
  • the division or department may require a change in the nature of the request as a condition for acceptance; or
  • the division or department may wish to link approval of a flexible retirement request to an agreement on the applicant’s eventual full retirement date.

Considerations

In deciding on a request the division or department should take into consideration its business needs and the potential impact on the applicant’s work colleagues as well as on the employee making the request.

  • Delivery.  Can the department cover the employee’s reduced workload through recruitment, a re-organisation of work or the cutting of some tasks? Or would accepting the employee’s request have an unacceptable impact on the quality or delivery of the department’s work? Does the department need to ask for a modification in the request, e.g. the department might want the employee to reduce hours to three days rather than four to allow the increased possibility of a job share.
  • Cost.  Does employee’s request simply entail a saving in salary, or are there factors which mean that the costs of filling the resulting gap are higher than the savings?
  • Impact on colleagues. Can the employee’s request be accommodated without detrimental impact on the employee’s work colleagues?
  • Quality of work. Can the employee’s request be met by simply reducing his/her working hours in the same role, or does it entail a change in the nature of the work he or she does, or even a move to a different post?  If it is only possible to achieve the reduction by taking a discrete element out of the employee’s duties, does this leave sufficient work of the right quality?  Are there any implications for grading?
  • Personal circumstances. Are there exceptional personal circumstances relevant to the request which need to be taken into account?
  • Timing.  Are there any factors such as major events or key dates in the business cycle which might influence when the department would want the flexible retirement to start? How does the application fit with any plans the department has for re-organisation? 
  • Planning.  Would it be helpful to the department, for succession planning reasons, or to the employee, for retirement planning purposes, to link discussion of flexible retirement to decisions about eventual full retirement?