Introduction to this document

Response to retirement notification

Where an employee has notified you of their intention to retire, you should acknowledge receipt of their notice and arrange a meeting with them so that you can discuss the retirement arrangements. Our letter also covers whether the employee has given you sufficient notice to terminate their employment.

A formal reply

Both our Retirement Form and our Retirement Policy envisage that, once an employee has formally notified you of their intended retirement date, you’ll write to them to acknowledge receipt of their notice to retire and to arrange a meeting with them to discuss the retirement arrangements. Our Response to Retirement Notification is the letter that you’ll need for this purpose.

Notice of termination

The first issue our letter deals with is whether the employee has given the required notice period to terminate their employment. A retirement constitutes a resignation in law; it’s not a dismissal. Therefore, the employee is still required to give the period of notice of termination as set out in their employment contract. Statutory minimum notice of resignation is always only one week but their employment contract may expressly provide for a longer notice period to be given. Our letter has two optional paragraphs. One confirms the employee has given sufficient notice and therefore states that their intended retirement date will be their final day of employment with you. It also warns them that they can’t subsequently change their mind about retiring, or defer their retirement date, without your express agreement. You’re under no obligation to accept a withdrawal or deferment of notice to retire once it’s been given. The other optional paragraph provides that the employee has failed to give sufficient notice and requests that they now give the additional notice period required to ensure compliance with the notice provisions in their employment contract. It then states that you’ll work towards a new proposed retirement date, i.e. one which provides the correct notice, and it asks the employee to confirm in writing (by resubmitting their retirement form, if that’s how they notified their retirement) that they accept the new date.

Retirement meeting

The second issue our letter deals with is the scheduling of a retirement meeting. This is a meeting to discuss the arrangements for the employee’s retirement, including succession and handover arrangements, details of final salary payments and pension details. Make sure that, as far as pensions is concerned, you don’t attempt to give any financial advice to the employee and instead encourage them to seek independent financial advice. Our letter also states that you may ask the employee to complete an exit questionnaire. These can be useful with retiring employees as they should be able to give a balanced view about the business and their work as their reasons for leaving are entirely personal and not work related. It’s also vitally important to get the employee on side in relation to succession planning, particularly if they have extensive knowledge in relation to their role and responsibilities because they’ve been there a long time. You’ll need their co-operation in terms of providing details of the status of their current work projects, ensuring a smooth handover of work to a successor and perhaps even in assisting in training that successor.