Retirement options

At Oxford, the pension scheme options vary depending on your staff group. In particular:

  • Support staff in grades 1-5 are eligible for membership of the Oxford Staff Pension Scheme, or OSPS. [1] Please see here for further details.  
  • Staff in grades 6 and above are eligible for membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, or USS. Please see here for further details.
  • Non-employees who have a contract personally to work for or provide services to the University and who are not undertaking the work as part of their own business are eligible to join the National Employment Savings Trust, or NEST. Please see here for further details.  
  • Others may have the right to retain membership of other schemes such as the NHS Pension Scheme. Please see here for details about NHSPS and here for further information about other schemes.

There are retirement options, which are summarised below:

[1] Please note that some staff at other grades may have reserved rights to membership of OSPS. Please contact the Pensions Office for further information at

Normal retirement

Depending on the pension scheme to which they belong, most staff may retire at the ‘normal pension age’ for their scheme. Once a member of staff reaches the normal pension age, they may take their accrued pension benefits in full and retire from the University. As of 1 November 2017, the normal pension age in USS is 65. The normal pension age in OSPS is the later of age 65 or the State Pension age. The normal pension age for most pension schemes is likely to rise in the future, broadly in line with increases to the State Pension age. 

For further details, please visit our website here and the Pensions Office website here

Early retirement

Members of staff may apply to retire before the normal pension age. This is known as ‘early retirement’. Early retirement usually entails receiving reduced pension benefits – the benefits are actuarially reduced by an amount that depends on how long before the normal pension age the pension is taken.

For further details, please visit our website here and the Pensions Office website here

Flexible retirement

Flexible retirement is a scheme that allows employees, with University approval, to achieve a mix of retirement and continuity at work. The employee reduces their work and gives up part of their salary in exchange for part payment of their pension benefits.

For the employee, the benefits can include an improved work-life balance or freeing up time for caring or other responsibilities without taking the full financial penalty that can come with going part-time or leaving work altogether. It is also a way of tapering towards eventual full retirement rather than going straight from full-time work to full-time retirement.

For the department, flexible retirement offers a means of retaining key staff who might otherwise be lost to full retirement, and of smoothing transitions and succession planning.  It may also be a feature of managing EJRA requests where a department and the employee would like the employee to continue beyond the EJRA in part, but not all, of their previous role. Please note that any flexible working arrangement that would involve an employee working beyond their EJRA date would require approval from the EJRA Committee.

For further information about flexible retirement, including the full procedure, please see here.

Retire at the EJRA (for staff at grade 8 or above)

The University operates an Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) for all academic and related staff at grade 8 or above. This is the 30 September before their 69th birthday and it is the date at which they are expected to retire if they have not already elected to do so. The EJRA date does not relate to normal pension age. The EJRA operates in support of the Aims of the policy, which are available here. It is expected that all staff at grade 8 or above will retire by or on their EJRA date.

In some exceptional circumstances, staff may apply to work beyond their EJRA date; please see here for further details.

Retirement due to ill-health may be applicable in certain cases. For staff seeking further information about ill-health retirement, please contact your departmental HR team.

For further details, please visit the our website here and the Pensions Office website here.