Voluntary early retirement and temporary unpaid leave, career break and part-time working options

COVID-19 is presenting UCL, like the rest of the Higher Education sector, with huge financial challenges. UCL’s Council has confirmed two new measures to reduce UCL’s payroll expenditure.

UCL has introduced two new temporary schemes to reduce payroll expenditure: a Voluntary Retirement Scheme for staff aged 66 or over, and a number of options for staff to take unpaid leave or a career break, or make a switch to part-time working.

Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS)

This scheme is for staff aged 66 and over, and is an entirely voluntary scheme intended to provide staff who may already be considering retirement with an additional payment in recognition of the contribution they have made to UCL. The aim is to reduce the amount spent on staffing while allowing eligible staff who may be considering retirement to do so with an additional payment.

The scheme is open now and will end on 31 October 2020. To be eligible, staff must be aged 66 or over on 1 October 2020.

Voluntary temporary unpaid leave, career break and part-time working options

It is clear that the pandemic has led to additional pressure for some of our staff, and prompted others to rethink priorities. We are inviting colleagues who wish to request a temporary change to their working hours to explore this with their teams: whether to take unpaid leave, pursue a career break, or make the switch to part-time working on a temporary or permanent basis. Again, this scheme is entirely voluntary, but anyone interested should discuss further with their line manager. HR will be supporting managers to review and respond to requests.

It’s important to note that applications for a temporary career break or temporary reduction in hours will not affect the longer term viability of a post. The scheme is intended to make short-term savings while UCL responds to the challenges of COVID-19, but will not influence the position of the substantive post in organisational structures. Staff can also combine any move to part-time working hours with flexible retirement options within the USS scheme.


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