Our retirement policy assists employees approaching retirement age by explaining the options available. This applies to all employees except those covered by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers and other associated professionals conditions who have a separate policy.
There is no longer a default retirement age but there are relevant dates you should be aware of before making any decisions about your retirement.
State Pension Age (SPA)
The SPA is currently between 65 and 68. You can find out when you will reach your SPA at www.direct.gov.uk.
Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Members
If you are a member of the LGPS, the normal age at which you receive your pension is your SPA. There are options to retire from age 55 with a reduced pension, to retire flexibly, or to accumulate membership rights in the scheme until 2 days before your 75th birthday.
Some of these options have specific criteria or need employer approval.
Retirement options and criteria
Non LGPS Member
If you are not in the LGPS pension scheme, you can choose to retire at any time. No pension benefits are payable by the Council.
If you wish to apply to reduce your hours you should apply using the Flexible Working Policy.
LGPS Member - SPA
You can choose to retire on your SPA in which case unreduced LGPS pension benefits will be payable.
LGPS Member - Age 55+
You can choose to retire and take your pension from the LGPS at any time between age 55 to 75, as long as you have 2 years active membership in the pension scheme and were making pension contributions on or after 01 June 2018.
If you choose to take your pension before your state pension age it will normally be reduced, as it's being paid out early (before normal retirement age). The amount of your reduction depends on how early you take the benefits. The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) between the date your benefits are paid and the normal retirement age for that part of your scheme membership. There are some exceptions and you should contact the Pensions team for advice.
The general rule is that the earlier you retire, the greater the reduction.
This option does not require any approval from Falkirk Council.
More information is available from the Pensions team.
If you opt out of the scheme, your retirement benefits cannot be paid out until you leave the employment which you earned your benefits in.
Continue to work
You can continue to work in your current post for as long as you wish, provided you are able to perform the duties of your post to the required standards.
Delaying your pension payments
If you take your LGPS pension later than your normal retirement age, it's increased because it's being paid later.
You can choose to take your pension before you are 75 but if you choose not to; your pension will be automatically paid when you reach 75. More information about this is available from the Pensions team.
The flexible retirement rules of LGPS mean that, in certain circumstances, it is possible for you to receive some or all of your retirement benefits and to continue working. If you wish to apply to reduce your hours without accessing your pension benefits you should apply using the Flexible Working Policy.
- be aged 55 or over
- reduce your hours or grade enough to meet the needs of the LGPS
- have approval from the Council for your revised working arrangements
- not be financially better off as a result of flexible retirement
If there is a strain cost to release your pension, you will need to accept an actuarially reduced pension (ARP) to allow your pension benefits to be released. This is applied to ensure consistency across all applications.
If your flexible retirement application is approved, you will stay in the scheme and build up a new set of pension rights for your revised working arrangements unless you choose not to. Any additional benefits built up will be payable when you retire fully.
You can find out how to apply for any retirement options in the How to apply for a retirement option.
Re-employment with Falkirk Council
Whilst flexible retirement will enable us to retain the skills and knowledge of experienced employees, if you have retired, and a cost has been incurred by Falkirk Council or Falkirk Community Trust, you cannot be re-employed by Falkirk Council or Falkirk Community Trust. This includes casual and consultancy work.
In specific circumstances and to meet service requirements, Service Directors in consultation with the Head of People, Technology and Transformation may authorise a short term arrangement. This must be time limited, normally for a maximum of 3 months and only with permission from the Chief Executive can this be extended. This may not be repeated in the same calendar year and in general Service Directors should not re-engage the same ex employee regularly.
Roles and responsibilities
You have a responsibility to ensure that you have the relevant information to assist you in making a decision about your retirement options. Information is available from www.Gov.uk, the employee internet, your manager, Human Resources, Pensions and Trade Unions. You may also wish to consider specialist independent financial advice although this may have a cost.
The normal notice periods for any resignation apply when you are retiring but you should be aware of the timescales required to release pension funds where applicable (4 – 6 weeks).
If you wish to request flexible retirement, you are responsible for making sure that the correct application form is completed and submitted in time. A late application could mean a delay in any agreement to flexible retirement. If the flexible retirement start date is less than 6 months from the date of receipt, a member of the HR Helpdesk will contact you or your manager and ask them to discuss a revised date with you. This is to allow time for the calculations to be completed and to provide time for you to consider the offer along with providing time for the new arrangements to be put in place.
On receipt of your retirement resignation, your manager will complete a termination form through HR Forms Plus and submit this to Payroll. Your manager will write to you confirming relevant dates and other details such as annual leave entitlement and salary sacrifice details.
If you are a LGPS member, your manager will also send an email confirming the last day of your contractual service (the date of retirement) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managers will assess any flexible retirement requests you submit in line with the guidance and ensure requests are processed within the required timescales. They will also complete a termination form through HR Forms Plus for your agreed retirement date and submit this to Payroll. More information for managers is available at How to assess an application for flexible retirement.
This policy is effective from January 2022.