Informal discussion

Best practice is for the employee and department or division to have informal discussion of the employee’s wish for flexible retirement.

  • This allows both parties scope to explore options and to negotiate and agree an acceptable arrangement.
  • This suggests that the process of applying for flexible retirement should start several months before the desired start date.
  • Consultation with the Pensions Office can help inform these discussions .

Discussion of final retirement

A flexible retirement request could be agreed as part of a package which includes voluntary agreement on a subsequent, second flex (if requested) and on the employee’s final retirement at a specified date in the future.

  • In such cases approval of the package would entail department and employee each making a binding commitment to vary the contract on at least one occasion (i.e. implement the ‘flex’) and to final retirement on an agreed date.  The agreed package would include notice of retirement by the employee i.e. a resignation letter.
  • The agreed final retirement date could be at any future date, provided that it was at least 12 months after the first flexible retirement ‘flex’.
  • Any subsequent change to the agreed package, including to the final retirement date, would have to be agreed by both employee and the department.
  • Such a package could introduce a welcome degree of certainty into retirement and succession planning in the case of those staff who no longer have a fixed retirement age (as and when flexible retirement becomes available to them). 
  • Clarity from the employee about how long a period of flexible retirement is intended to last could make it easier for a department to assess and mitigate the impact that approval of a flexible retirement request would have on its business going forward.
  • Agreement on such a package is voluntary. Departments should not use a flexible retirement request as a means of compelling staff to agree to a fixed retirement date.