Flexible retirement in the NHS

Sharon Gregory looks at guidance from NHS Employers on offering pension flexibilities in the NHS.

NHS Employers have recently produced further guidance for employers to assist them in considering alternative options to the normal retirement routes. We are reminded that encouraging pension flexibilities can support organisations in a number of ways:

• Allowing the retention of experience and skilled staff
• An effective response to demographic changes as older people wanting to work shorter hours makes up a more significant portion of the potential workforce
• A more motivated workforce as employees have more ability to choose how they manage their careers as they approach retirement.

This article summarises some of the new options open to employees depending on which part of the scheme the member is in:

Early retirement reduced buy-out: In the 2015 scheme members or employers can pay additional contributions to buy out, or reduce, the actuarial reduction that would be applied to their pension were they to retire before their Normal Pension Age (NPA)
Late retirement enhancement: In some schemes a member can choose to retire later than their Normal Pension Age (NPA) and their pension benefits will be increased by the application of these late retirement factors
Draw down: Some members can take part of their pension benefits whilst continuing to work in the NHS
Retire and return to NHS Employment: Staff who have reached the minimum retirement age can opt to retire, take all of their pension benefits while continuing to work in the NHS
Step down: Staff could choose to reduce their responsibilities by moving into a less senior role
Wind down: Reducing hours or fewer days could be an option for some staff.

Employers can access a series of facts sheets and guidance produced by The Working Longer Group, which provide full guidance on each of the options above including case studies at www.nhsemployers.org.

Sharon Gregory
www.sgtd.co.uk
Croner/January 2015