HR Policy
To Be Categorised
HR Directorate
HR Policy Group
Director of Workforce, Employee Director
07 December 2021
01 October 2024
01 October 2021


NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.

New policies will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.


1. Retirement Factsheet

2. Process Flowchart

3. Retirement Planning document

4. Employee Checklist

5. Manager Checklist

6. Voluntary Retirement and Re-employment Application (extant)

7. Voluntary Retirement and Re-employment flowchart

8. Recognition of the Contribution Of Employees Who Retire From NHS Fife




1.1      Introduction

NHS Fife recognises that the change from work to retirement is one of the most significant events encountered during a person’s life. This policy aims to provide the best support and practical information to enable employees to experience as smooth a transition from work to retirement as possible. This policy was developed to support NHS Fife’s skill mix plans, consider the needs of the ageing workforce and facilitate the transfer of specialist knowledge and skills, such that they are retained in the workforce.

There is now no compulsory retirement age. NHS Fife believes that employees shall, wherever possible, be permitted to continue working for as long as they wish to do so.

NHS Fife recognises the importance of a retirement policy that is clear, concise and free from all forms of discrimination for employees and the need to ensure that appropriate support is available to staff at the time of their retirement from work.

This policy has been developed in partnership with staff side organisations and is based on the ‘Supporting the Work-Life Balance’ PIN Policy and Practice document. The Policy also reflects relevant employment legislation including the Equality Act and the Employment Rights Act. This policy is seen as an important element of NHS Fife’s commitment to equal opportunities and the following procedures will ensure fairness and equity in relation to all staff groups.  At the same time, NHS Fife wishes to ensure that when employees retire appropriate recognition is given to their contribution to the Board and to the NHS in general.

This policy and related procedures do not in any way affect the rights of individual employees who are members of the NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland) or NHS Pension Scheme (Scotland) 2015 (hereafter referred to as the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes) to the benefits and provisions of that Scheme.  These schemes are administered by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (hereafter referred to as the SPPA).

1.2 Objectives

(a) To ensure fairness and equity approaching retirement.

(b) To manage the retirement process in a way which allows the employee to retire with dignity and facilitates appropriate celebration of attaining retirement status.

(c) To ensure appropriate recognition of long service when employees retire.

1.3 Scope

This policy applies to all staff employed full time or part time on Agenda for Change, Medical and Dental or Executive/Senior Manager Terms and Conditions of Service. Bank workers should contact their manager in regard to processing applications for the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes.

1.4 Roles & Responsibilities


Managers will ensure the effective application of the retirement process, and specifically to:

  • Ensure they are fully aware of and comply with the provisions of this policy, identifying and dealing with issues which arise in a fair, consistent, confidential, timely and supportive manner;
  • Ensure that the employee is aware of their entitlement within this policy;
  • Acknowledge an employee’s intention to retire;
  • Ensure that the employee is supported through the retirement process and pension; documentation is completed within the relevant timescale;
  • Ensure that all employees for whom they are responsible are made aware of and have access to this policy;
  • If the employee applies for voluntary retirement and return to part time working in a fixed term contract, ensure that they follow the process detailed in Section 5;
  • Ensure that the needs of the Service are met in agreeing an application for voluntary retirement and return to part time working in a fixed term contract;
  • Ensure that they meet with the employee who retires and returns 3 months prior to the end of the fixed term contract to confirm if it will be ending at 1 year or extended for a further 10 months maximum.
  • Ensure that contractual notice is given to the employee prior to fixed term contract, or extended fixed term contract ending. Further guidance on terminating a fixed term contract can be found in NHS Fife’s Policy on the Use of Fixed Term Contracts.
  • Ensure that they complete any HR and Payroll Information systems to reflect changes which will affect pay;
  • Ensure that aspects of the policy in relation to recognition are applied;
  • Ensure that they seek Workforce Directorate advice if they are unsure how to apply this policy;
  • Work in partnership with Trade union / professional organisations in the application of this policy.


Employees approaching retirement will:

  • Give as much notice as possible of their intention to retire, to their manager, in writing to assist with forward planning. If the employee is a member of the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes they should give 4 - 6 months notice to ensure sufficient notice for pension documentation to be completed.
  • Determine if they wish to use the pre-retirement arrangements prior to resigning their substantive post and if so make the necessary application.
  • If making an application for voluntary retirement and return to part time hours on a fixed term contract, make an application for the return to work using the application form at Appendix 6; check all the implications to their pension with the SPPA prior to approval, including having arranged the necessary break between their termination date and recommencement date in line with the requirements specified by SPPA; and on confirmation of approval, complete their resignation to leave, for the required period, prior to recommencement in the part-time post and complete their pension papers.

Staff Side Representatives:

Staff Side Representatives will:

  • Support their members in using this policy, ensuring that their members are aware of their rights and responsibilities under this and other relevant policies
  • Work in partnership with NHS Fife to develop joint training as part of the implementation of this policy and participate in such joint training;
  • Work in partnership with NHS Fife to raise awareness of the benefits of, and the approach to the implementation of this policy; and
  • Participate in partnership monitoring, evaluation and review of this policy.

Human Resources:

Human Resources will:

  • Ensure the policy is communicated through normal NHS Fife processes;
  • Ensure that the manager is supported and the employee is made aware of their rights, responsibilities and entitlements;
  • Ensure that the retirement procedure is applied fairly and consistently;
  • Develop and deliver, in partnership, training on this policy for managers and trade union/professional organisation representatives Advise managers on the correct application of this policy; and
  • Support employees by providing advice on this policy.


Payroll will:

  • Administer appropriate pension documentation, where applicable


Preparation for Retirement

2.1 Pension Information

Employees should consider their pension provision and take independent financial advice before making any decision in relation to retirement.  Employees who are in the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes can access information on the scheme from the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) at Employees who are in a personal/private pension scheme should contact their scheme provider direct. Employees approaching state pension age can access information on

2.2 Pre-Retirement Course

Employees will be given the opportunity to attend a pre-retirement course arranged by NHS Fife where they will have access to a wide range of information. Pre-retirement courses are available for all employees considering retirement within the next 12 months, taking early or flexible retirement or retiring due to ill health. Further details are available from the Workforce Development Department at

SECTION 3: Retirement Process

3.1 Retirement Process Information

A retirement factsheet is available on StaffLink. (Appendix 1) If HR advice and support is required on the process, application of policy or completion of forms then this should be initially directed to the local HR Assistant. A retirement process flowchart is available at Appendix 2.                              

3.2 9 months to at least 12 months before Retirement

Pre-retirement courses are available for all employees considering retirement within the next 12 months, taking early or flexible retirement or retiring due to ill health. Ideally, employees should speak with their manager 12 months before they wish to retire to discuss their intentions with regards to retirement. The line manager will then arrange an individual meeting with the member of staff, as required, up to 9 months before the proposed date of retirement in order that a plan for retirement may be drawn up. A retirement planning document and checklists for employees and managers are also available for use in Appendices 3, 4 and 5. This form can be used, regardless of whether the employee is a member of the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes, for employees to set out their plan without committing themselves to a particular course of action. The discussion should include the options about retiring and undertaking further work within the NHS. This may include voluntary retirement and returning to part time working on a fixed term contract in accordance with section 5 of this Policy, but equally may be about looking for alternative work within the NHS in accordance with normal recruitment processes or working on the bank.

3.3 At least six months before Retirement

To benefit from the Phased Retirement arrangements in Section 4 of this Policy, an employee needs to provide at least 6 months notice of their intention to retire.

3.4 Four to six months before Retirement

Employees who are in the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes need to complete the Application Form between 4 to 6 months prior to their retirement date for their payments to be processed in time for the date of retirement. The most up to date application form can be obtained from the SPPA website at the following link:-

It should be noted that the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes Application Form cannot be processed until formal notice to retire has been received in writing and therefore, to ensure no delays in payment, employees may wish to provide more than their contractual notice. To claim the NHS pension the employee is normally required to retire from all NHS jobs from which pension contributions are paid; however there are there are a small number of exceptions. Employees should seek further information from the SPPA.  A completed application form is required for each post from which the employee is retiring.  All completed application forms should be submitted electronically through the line manager or administration staff for support to do this on behalf of the staff member, or direct to Payroll and HR. Please see the Retirement Factsheet for email addresses Appendix 1.

The Manager will need to process a termination of employment through the electronic employee system (eEES) at the same time as processing the application forms.

The Manager will ascertain from the member of staff whether they wish to have a retirement presentation and the Manager will make arrangements in line with NHS Fife’s Hospitality Policy.

3.5 Three months or less before Retirement

When an employee is definite that they are going to retire from work, regardless of whether they are a member of the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes, they must inform their line manager in writing. Notification must be in accordance with the appropriate notice period as set out in the contract of employment.

At least one month prior to retirement, the Manager will make arrangements for a letter of recognition and thanks to be issued by the Chief Executive, on behalf of NHS Fife, at the point of retirement. (See 3.7 below and Appendix 8 for further information)

3.6 Before Retirement

Every employee must ensure that their full leave entitlement is taken prior to their retirement date. The Manager to arrange for employee to complete exit interview form,

3.7 At the point of retirement

If wished, a retirement presentation will be held.  (See 3.4 above) A letter of recognition and thanks will be issued from the Chief Executive (see 3.5 above and Appendix 8) The Manager to arrange for return of all IT equipment, lease car, ID badge, mobile, uniform, keys etc if the employee is not returning.

3.8 Retirement for reasons other than age

If a member of staff is considering retiring for reasons other than age, e.g. ill health, then information will be provided on the application process from the local HR Officer/Advisor.

SECTION 4: Phased Retirement

4.1 Eligibility

4.1.1This section of the policy applies to all employees with 10 years NHS service, who retire from the employment of NHS Fife, linked to age retirement for members of the NHS Scotland superannuation schemes.  For the purposes of this policy, the definition of retirement must be linked to the commencement date of payment of a pension – either a statutory state pension and / or an NHS Occupational / private or personal pension.

4.1.2 In the case of the state pension only, the employee must, on the day following the date of “retirement”, have reached the age eligible to receive a state pension.

4.1.3 In the case of an NHS Occupational pension, the employee must have made an application to the Scottish Public Pensions Agency for payment of their NHS Scotland superannuation schemes pension from the date of their retirement or deferment of their pension.

4.1.4 In the case of a personal/private pension, the employee must have made an application to their pension provider for payment of their pension from the date of their retirement.

4.1.5 Unless at least one of the above criteria is met and evidence provided, the employee cannot access any of the benefits contained within this policy.

4.1.6 Employees who are retiring on ill health grounds may also benefit from this policy.

4.2 Working Hours Reduction

In order that an employee can adjust to the prospect of retirement, a retiral plan including use of any outstanding annual leave and gradual reduction in working hours must be agreed and in place six months before the date of retiral.  A gradual reduction in hours may be introduced three months prior to retirement (pro-rata for part-time staff), in line with the needs of the service, for example:


Third month before retiral - 4 days or 80% of contractual hours      

Second month before retiral - 3 days or 60% of contractual hours  

Last month before retiral - 2 days or 40% of contractual hours        


During the phased retiral reduction in hours, the employee will continue to be paid as if at work. 

Employees will be entitled to one phased retiral opportunity.  For example, staff who retire and plan to resume employment with NHS Fife at a later date will only have this entitlement in respect of their actual retirement.

Where an employee disagrees with the line manager’s decision, they will have recourse to the NHS Fife Dealing with Employee Grievances policy.

SECTION 5: Voluntary Retire and Return to Part Time Working on a Fixed Term Contract

5.1 Function

This section provides staff who are eligible to retire on a voluntary age basis with the facility to apply to retire and return to their existing post on a part time basis on a fixed term contract. It was hoped it would help retain staff with significant skills and experience in the service for longer.

This facility is not available to staff who retire on the grounds of organisational change or ill health or who retire on the grounds of efficiency of the service.  It is only available for those who take age retirement or those who volunteer to take premature retirement with actuarial reduction i.e. no employer enhancements.

5.2 Location

The principles in Section 5.3 of the guidance note should be followed to approve requests from staff wishing to be re-employed following retirement.  These take into account the regulations set out in the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) Circular No 13/2006, and support the priorities within NHS Fife’s Workforce Plan. 

Factors such as the needs of the service, the wish of the employee to retain employment,  the employment market, the employee’s skills and whether these are unique and cannot be found elsewhere need to be taken into consideration, along with due regard to public perception.  No employee will have an automatic right to return following retirement.  All requests to return to work following retirement should be considered on a case by case basis. 

If there is no service requirement for an employee to return to the same role following their retirement, such an application will not be approved.  This does not preclude the member of staff applying for bank or for an alternative part time post via the normal recruitment procedures at that time or in the future.

5.3       Operational System

5.3.1    The employee’s line manager must complete the application attached at Appendix 6.  This must then be approved by their Head of Service or equivalent and signed by the employee.  The document should be held in the employee’s personal file. 

5.3.2    The line manager will describe on the application what benefits there will be for NHS Fife by supporting the application and how it will impact on their service.  This includes how they will manage the reduction in hours and what length of contract they propose to offer.

5.3.3    If the application is refused, the outcome and reasons must be provided in writing, within 14 days of the request being considered by the line manager and individual.

5.3.4    A member of staff can appeal against the decision to refuse their application by submitting a Notice of Appeal letter within 14 days of receiving written confirmation that their application has not been successful.  The notice of appeal must be dated and clearly set out the grounds of appeal.

5.3.5   A hearing will be held to discuss the appeal within 14 days of the Notice of Appeal being received.  The Appeal Panel will consist of a manager who is at a more senior level than the manager who made the original decision and a member of the HR Team, neither of whom have been involved in making the original decision.  The staff member has the right to be accompanied by a trade union / professional organisation representative or a current NHS Fife work colleague.

5.3.6    A new contract will be offered for the part-time role. This will be on a fixed term/temporary basis for up to one year in the first instance at which point the position will be reviewed.  A further fixed term contract, for a maximum of 10 months can be issued if appropriate.    The new contract must be at the same grade as the post-holder previously held in that role. Employees wishing to return to work in a post on a higher grade should apply for a post via the normal recruitment procedures.  Employees wishing to return to work in a lower graded post would normally be required to apply for a post via normal recruitment processes unless a case can be made for re-employing the staff member on a lower grade.  For example but not exhaustive, where the employee is a registrant who wishes to retire and return to an entry level registrant post.  Where the professional registration has been maintained, there is a suitable vacancy and it can be demonstrated that it would be of benefit to the organisation to retain the registrant’s skills, the employee may retire and return to an entry level registrant post.

5.3.7    The hours of work for the part time role will be dependent on the needs of the service.  Employees’ pension arrangements after retirement and re-employment can be affected by the hours they work in a part time post so advice should be sought from the SPPA.  Employees are responsible for ensuring that they check any breaks in service required prior to re-employment and any restriction on hours of work once re-employed so that their pension is not affected.  

5.3.8    The commencement date of the new contract will also be the new date of continuous service for the employee.  This recognises that the employee terminated their previous contract and retired from the service. With a new date of continuous service the employee will have no entitlement to benefits associated with certain policies such as organisational change which requires a minimum of two years service.  The employee will however retain their current annual and sick leave entitlement.

5.3.9    The individual will be re-employed on the most recent pay point on their basic salary scale and will retain their incremental date if less than 3 months break in service.  This rate of pay will not include any protection of earnings applicable to their previous role or any allowances unless they relate to the new part time role.  If re-employed on to a lower band the individual will be placed on a point that recognises their completed years of service at the grade re-employed at or above and will receive a new incremental date.

5.3.10  Any Medical and Dental Consultant returning to work following retirement will be employed on a locum basis on basic salary with no distinction awards/discretionary points.  Their appointment will be in line with the National Terms and Conditions of Service for a locum appointment and the balance of their job plan should be towards direct clinical care sessions.  The same arrangements will apply for Associate Specialist, Staff Grades and Specialty Doctors but Associate Specialist and Staff Grades returning to work following retirement should be aware that these are now closed grades and any return to work would be to the Specialty Doctor grade and the associated terms and conditions of service. 

5.3.11 Full time staff considering re-employment must be reminded that they will be re-employed part time so some terms and conditions, in addition to pay, may be different.  They are accountable for checking this themselves. 

5.3.12  Any employee who wishes to consider this option is responsible for ensuring that they have clarified their pension position with the SPPA and have no outstanding issues with the SPPA about their pension entitlement.

5.3.13  Re-employment into the same post as they held prior to retirement at reduced hours will not require the usual recruitment authorisation form or the normal recruitment process for appointment to the part-time post. However, re-employment to a different post i.e. different role, team, location will require recruitment authorisation and the appointment to be made through normal recruitment processes. The individual will be appointed on either a substantive or fixed term contract depending on how the post was advertised. 


5.4 An outline of the process to be followed is attached in Appendix 7


NHS Retirement Fellowship

NHS Fife actively supports the NHS Retirement Fellowship.  Employees are encouraged to take advantage of the benefits and facilities offered by this organisation, which has a local branch. Further details can be found on:   

SECTION 7     

Resolution process

Should there be any dispute regarding the application of this policy, this should be resolved in accordance with NHS Scotland Grievance Policy at