Retirement for academic and academic-related staff at grade 8 or above

With effect from 1 October 2017, academic and academic-related staff in posts at grade 8 or above 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 their 69th 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.

Retirement options

Academic and academic-related staff at grade 8 or above 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 currently the ‘normal pension age’ in USS.  From age 65 all eligible USS members are entitled, if they choose, to take their pension benefits and retire from the University. But, if you do not wish to do so, you can continue to work beyond 65 and take your pension later. Please be aware that the normal pension age will rise in the future, broadly in line with increases to the 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 the normal pension age. This is 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 the normal pension age 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 pension.

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

Departments wishing to explore this option with a member of staff  should contact their 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:


Departments and, where appropriate, divisions should write to individual employees at least 2.5 years in advance of their retirement date. The purpose of the letter would be to remind staff of their options, to update them on sources of information and support currently available and to encourage them to consult with their department, the Pensions Office and other parties as necessary. The relevant pro-forma letters may be downloaded from Documents.

Pensions information

Anyone considering retirement should request an individual pension estimate: the size of each person’s pension benefits depends on factors such as age, pensionable salary and pensionable service.  The Pensions Office can provide pensions estimates and other pension information, but they cannot give financial advice. For this members of staff should consult an independent financial adviser.

Preparation for Retirement Seminars

The Oxford Learning Institute offesr a full-day retirement planning seminar entitled ‘Stepping forward with confidence into retirement’, which explores personal, practical and financial implications of retirement. This can be booked via the Oxford Learning Institute website or by emailing