SOAS University of London

Human Resources

Procedure on Staff Retirement and Employment of Staff beyond 65 years of age



  1. Introduction
  2. Scope
  3. Principles
  4. Definitions
  5. Review
  6. Table of Responsibilities
  7. Associated Policies and Legislation


1 Introduction


1.1 This Procedure sets out the commitment of the School of Oriental and African Studies (the School) to comply with the requirement, effective 1 October 2006, to consult with employees prior to retirement in accordance with the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, 2006.

1.2 This Procedure is intended to address circumstances where existing employees wish to continue in employment beyond their normal retirement age of 65 and the requests which may be made in accordance with the aforementioned legislation.

1.3 SOAS will take steps to identify and eliminate unlawful age discrimination and will review all policies to ensure that they comply with Age Discrimination Legislation. Monitoring will be undertaken to identify any areas of inequality.

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2 Scope

2.1 The Procedure applies to all existing employees, with the exception of senior post holders and some other senior management posts, for whom different contractual arrangements apply. Generally there are two distinct associated Policies which apply to the different groups of staff at the School.

2.2 Certain Academic Staff are covered by the Terms of Employment for Teaching & Research Staff.

2.3 All other employees are covered by the Terms of Employment for Teaching & Scholarship, Research and Support Staff Groups.

2.4 Employees who resign between the ages of 60 and 64 may be able to access their pension benefits without any actuarial reduction in accordance with the rules of their Pension Scheme at the time. Employees should refer to Section 3.5.3 for contact details.

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3. Principles

3.1 Retirement Procedure and Application


3.1.1 Current contracts of employment state that the normal date of retirement for staff on Grades G2 – G5 is the day on which the age of 65 is attained and for staff on Grades G6/Ac1 - G10/Ac5 is at the end of the academic session (i.e. 30th September) after 65 years is attained. This is the normal procedure that will be followed.

3.1.2 However, by exception and subject to certain criteria and parameters, approval may be given to extending the employment of staff beyond normal retirement age.  

3.1.3 Some employees may wish to consider making flexible working requests in the year leading up to their normal retirement date. The Flexible Working Procedure, which can be accessed via Human Resources, sets out the eligibility criteria.

3.1.4 Some employees may wish to continue working for a longer period; at reduced hours, part-time working, emergency or holiday cover or job sharing.  Employees may retire and then be reengaged as researchers for example.

3.1.5 Where extensions to employment beyond 65 years of age are granted, employment end dates will be set in accordance with semester/assessment end dates where possible, in the case of academic staff, as well as support staff, if deemed appropriate.

3.1.6 The timeframes highlighted within this Procedure are established by the legislation and not the School; these timeframes need to be adhered to by both the School and staff.

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3.2 Procedure for Retirement

3.2.1 Monthly/quarterly reports will be issued by the HR Directorate identifying all employees who are due to retire within the next 12 months for the attention of Deans of Faculty / Directors of Directorates/ Head of IFCELS.

3.2.2 The employee will subsequently be notified in writing of his or her impending retirement by the HR Directorate. This notification will normally be sent 12 months (and no later than six months) before his or her normal retirement date (see Appendix 1).

3.2.3 The employee will also be informed of his or her right to request working beyond the retirement age and of the normal retirement date in accordance with the above time limits.

3.2.4 Employees who request to continue working beyond the retirement age should refer to Section 3.3 which outlines the required procedure.

3.2.5 Employees may still, as per the School’s Procedures, request early retirement. These requests will be considered by the Executive Board.

3.2.6 Requests for early retirement will be considered against criteria based on operational and strategic justification, such as issues concerning redeployment, uniqueness of skills and the potential financial or other benefits to the School.

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3.3 Procedure for Employment of Staff beyond 65 years of age

3.3.1 All requests to work beyond the normal retirement age should be made, in writing via the RET1 form attached, by employees to the Human Resources Directorate preferably 6 months, but not less than 3 months, in advance of the date of normal retirement.

3.3.2 The employee’s Head of Department / Line Manager should meet with the employee to discuss the request. The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a colleague of their choice. A recommendation (further to the meeting) must be forwarded to the appropriate Dean of Faculty / Director of Directorate / Head of IFCELS, within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 2-3 weeks), confirming whether or not the criteria for extension, as set out in Section 3.4, have been met.

3.3.3 The request and the recommendation will be formally considered by the appropriate Dean of Faculty / Director of Directorate / Head of IFCELS.

3.3.4 On behalf of the Dean of Faculty / Director of Directorate / Head of IFCELS, the Human Resources Directorate will confirm to the employee and line manager whether or not an extension of employment has been agreed.

3.3.5 The decision will be notified to the employee within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 4-5 weeks from the date of the employee’s initial request). Extensions will be offered initially for a period of up to two years in the first instance at which time the employee’s circumstances will be reconsidered in accordance with this Procedure.

3.3.6 Decisions made by the Deans of Faculty / Directors of Directorates / Head of IFCELS within this Procedure may be appealed against by the employee by writing to the Director of Human Resources within two weeks of being notified of the decision, setting out the grounds of appeal.

3.3.7 Appeals will be considered by the Director of Human Resources and one of the following:-  the Pro-Director (Learning & Teaching), the Pro-Director (Research & Enterprise) or the Registrar and Secretary. When an appeal meeting is deemed necessary, employees have the right to be accompanied by a colleague of their choice at the appeal meeting.

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3.4 Criteria for extension of employment beyond 65 years of age

3.4.1 Under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, employees have a statutory right to request to work beyond their contractual retirement date. The School will consider such requests and will determine each case on its merits, taking into account the need to align the School’s strategic plans, the individual’s aspirations and business needs. The School is under no obligation to agree to such a request. The decision will be at the discretion of the School and will include consideration of the following:-

a. The need to retain key skills, knowledge and experience to achieve the School’s longer term strategic objectives and ensure that staff expertise is aligned to student demand/priority activities.
b. The ability to recruit to specific posts or areas.
c. The future strategic plans of the School, Faculty or Directorate, including faculty plans, research strategy and appropriate sub-strategies, and their implications for the type of work to be undertaken.
d. Succession and workforce planning issues, including space allocation.
e. The financial interests of the School.

3.4.2 In addition to the criteria set out in 3.4.1, requests for extension of employment will not be agreed if the  post in question offers a potential redeployment opportunity to an employee elsewhere in the School whose post is at risk.

3.4.3 Staff granted an extension beyond their contractual retirement date will fall into 2 categories:-

a. Revised retirement date – staff will continue to be employed under their existing employment contract.
b. Re-engagement – staff may retire from the University, i.e. take their pension, and request re-engagement under different contractual arrangements (e.g. reduced hours or to a substantially different role). In such cases the individual will be issued with a new, post-retirement, contract of employment following an appropriate break in service, as required by the USS and SAUL pension schemes.

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3.5 Pension

3.5.1 Final pension calculations are based on pensionable salary as calculated at the 65th birthday and not on any salary, higher or lower, gained if working beyond the age of 65.

3.5.2 Employees will have some decisions to make with regards to their pension as the Regulations make provision for individuals to draw on all or part of their pension benefits, provided the occupational pension provider allows it. Furthermore, staff may also be entitled to continue contributing to pension schemes to build up further benefits.

3.5.3 Employees can acquire advice on all pension matters from USS ( or SAUL ( or from an independent pensions / financial advisor. HR/Payroll can provide information on the pensions schemes, but not advice.

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3.6 Confidentiality

3.6.1 Retirement information will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and appropriate confidentiality under the Data Protection Act.

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4 Definitions

the state of being retired from one's business or occupation 2: withdrawal from your position or occupation.

Normal Retirement Date: For staff on Grades G2 - G5, the day on which the age of 65 is attained; for staff on Grades G6/Ac1 - G10/Ac5, at the end of the academic session (i.e. 30th September) after 65 years is attained. For example, if a G7/Ac2 employee is 65 on 5th September, his/her normal retirement date will be 30th September in the same year, but if a G7/Ac2 employee is 65 on 5th October, his/her normal retirement date will be 30th September in the following year.

Line manager:  the individual nominated by the Dean of Faculty, Head of IFCELS or Director of Directorate to have supervisory responsibility over the employee.

Pension: a regular payment to a person, calculated with reference to their Pensionable salary, that is intended to allow them to subsist without working following their retirement.

Pensionable salary: is whichever of the following is greater, as calculated on the employee’s 65th birthday:-

(a) the highest salary paid over any one of the three years before the employee retires; or
(b) the highest yearly average of the employee’s salary in any group of three years during the 13 years before he or she retires.

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5 Review

5.1 Reports and statistics on the operation of this Procedure will be made available to the School’s Executive Board.

5.2 The impact of this Procedure will also be monitored and assessed by the School’s Diversity Advisor and Human Resources Directorate and will be reported to the appropriate committee(s) so as to ensure that this Procedure is not having any unanticipated differential effects on men, women or any minority groups.

5.3 To ensure compliance with this Procedure and accompanying procedures, line managers will be expected to attend appropriate updates and training.

5.4 This Procedure is compliant with the European Directive [2000/78/EC] comes into force on 1 October 2006 and will be reviewed regularly in line with any changes in employment legislation.

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6 Table of Responsibilities


Employees• Notifying the Human Resources Directorate of the date they intend to retire.
• Completing requests for early retirement or extension of their employment after the age of 65.
Head of Department /Line Managers• Ensuring all employees are fully aware of this Procedure and associated Procedures, particularly during induction.
• Meeting with employees who are approaching the retirement age of 65, with the Dean of Faculty/ Director/Head of IFECLS.
• Making a recommendation on requests for extension of employment over the age of 65.
Dean of Faculty / Director of Directorate / Head of IFCELS• Monitoring the operation of this Procedure in their area.
• Timely and informed consideration of requests for working beyond the normal retirement date.
Human Resources• Providing advice, support and training on the operation of this Procedure.
• Producing termly reports to Deans/Directors/Head of IFCELS regarding staff approaching the age of 65.
• Tracking progress on requests for extension of employment beyond the normal retirement age.
• Producing annual summaries of the statistics for consideration by the appropriate committee(s).
• Confirming to employees that their retirement age is approaching.  
• Confirming to employees whether their request to work beyond their retirement age has been approved.
Pro-Directors (Learning & Teaching) / (Research & Enterprise) / Registrar and Secretary• Consideration of appeals, with the Director of Human Resources.
Executive Board• Timely and informed consideration of requests for early retirement.


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7 Associated Policies and Legislation


7.1 Equality and Diversity Policy.
7.2 Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1031.
7.3 Employment Rights Act 1996.
7.4 Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
7.5 SOAS Flexible Working Procedure.
7.6 Data Protection Act.
7.7 Terms of Employment (Contracts) for Teaching & Research, Teaching & Scholarship, Research and Support Staff Groups.
7.8 USS - Universities Superannuation Scheme.
7.9 SAUL - Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London Pension Scheme.

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