Retirement for academic and academic-related staff

Update July 2017

Changes to the University’s EJRA policy, made as a result of recommendations from the EJRA Review Group, have been approved by Congregation. You can read the full report of the Review Group here. These changes will come into effect on 1 October 2017, and these webpages will be updated accordingly over the summer. These changes may affect your employment at the University in a number of ways. In particular:

  • Staff at grades 6 and 7 with an EJRA date later than 1 October 2017 will no longer be required to retire on a set date;
  • If your retirement date is 30 September 2017:  these changes will not affect you, and your retirement date, as specified in your contract, does not change. This includes staff at grades 6 and 7;
  • If your retirement date is 30 September 2018 or later, your retirement date will be pushed back by one year to the 30 September preceding your 69th birthday;
  • If you wish to consider applying for employment beyond your EJRA date, you should do so two years, instead of one year, in advance of your retirement date.

Please note that if your EJRA date is due to change, you can still choose to retire before your contractual retirement date, but will not need to retire until the 30 September preceding your 69th birthday. These changes will not affect your pension age, i.e. the age at which you may take your pension, or your eligibility to apply for flexible retirement.

With regard to the exceptions process, please note that all applications received by the deadline of 30 September 2017 will be considered under the current Aims and Procedure. Future rounds of applications will be considered under revised Aims and Procedure as recommended by the EJRA Review Group.

You can read the Major Issues update on the EJRA here


With effect from 1 October 2011, academic and academic-related staff may:

- elect to retire
They may do so at, or at any time after, the minimum pension age stipulated in the Rules of the pension scheme to which they belong, as may be amended from time to time. There are retirement options.

- be retired by the University at the Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA)
Under Council Regulations 3, an academic and academic-related employee shall normally retire not later than the 30 September immediately preceding his or her 68th birthday. This is the EJRA.

- request an extension beyond the EJRA
For details on how to seek extended employment beyond the EJRA, please view the full EJRA Procedure here.


Retirement options

Academic and academic-related staff belong to a number of pension schemes and specific advice needs to be taken on how each scheme’s rules apply in any individual situation (contact the Pensions Office).  But, to illustrate, the current possibilities under USS, the principal pension scheme for academic and academic-related staff, are:  

Normal retirement

65 is the normal pension age.  From age 65 all eligible USS members are entitled, if they choose, to take their full unreduced pension and retire from the University.  But if they do not wish to do so, they can continue to work beyond 65 and take their full pension later.  The normal pension age will rise in line with state pension age. 

  • USS consider members who were aged 55 or over on 1 October 2011 to have a normal pension age of 60 (see early retirement).

Early retirement 

Members of staff may apply to retire before 65. This is commonly known as early retirement.

  • the 55th birthday is generally the earliest age at which a member of USS may apply to take their pension and retire;
  • early retirement usually entails receiving a reduced pension – the benefits are actuarially reduced by an amount that depends on how long before 65 the pension is taken;
  • however, a current USS member who was aged 55 or over on 1 October 2011 and who retires at or after the age of 60 will receive an unreduced pensio.

Flexible retirement 

USS offers a flexible retirement option to members aged 55 or over. This is where a member of staff continues to work, but takes a reduction in salary, for example by working reduced hours, in exchange for payment of a portion of their pension. This mix of work and pension can offer an attractive way of tapering towards eventual full retirement.  Information is available on the University’s flexible retirement policy

Ill health retirement

Contact your HR Business Partner for guidance.

Retirement information

Given the importance of the retirement decision, departments and divisions should ensure that staff have access to relevant information and encourage anyone considering retirement to consult before reaching their decision.  Available support includes:

 Pensions information

Anyone considering retirement would be well advised to get an individual pension estimate: the size of each person’s pension benefits depends on a number of specific factors such as age, pensionable salary and pensionable service.  The Pensions Office is available to provide pensions estimates and other pension information.  But they cannot give financial advice.  For this members of staff will have to consult an independent financial adviser.

 Preparation for Retirement Seminars

The Oxford Learning Institute offer a two part Planning for Retirement seminar which explores personal and practical, financial implications of retirement.  This can be booked via the Oxford Learning Institute website  or by emailing services@learning.ox.ac.uk.