What the Policy Covers
This policy explains the circumstances where an employee can be considered for premature release from their employment, the compensatory benefits that may apply and how applications for release under this policy will be assessed and progressed.
The policy adheres to the regulations contained in the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme. There are 3 main sets of regulations which govern the STSS:
- the Teachers’ Superannuation (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/393) (as amended)
- the Teachers (Compensation for Premature Retirement and Redundancy) (Scotland) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/2317) (as amended)
- the Teachers’ Superannuation (Additional Voluntary Contributions) (Scotland) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2814) (as amended)
The regulations and amendments that apply to the STSS can be viewed on the Scottish Public Pension Agency web-site
Scope and Eligibility
1. Who is covered by this policy
This policy applies to all teaching employees of the Council with at least two years’ continuous service who are leaving the Council prematurely on grounds of either redundancy or efficiency.
2. When the policy applies
This policy applies in situations where:
- an employee chooses to apply for voluntary severance or early retirement or;
- an employee finds themselves in a position where their job is deleted from the structure and is in a potential redundancy situation (in which case the provisions of the Compulsory Transfer Policy for Teachers and/or Protocol on the Management of Excess Teaching Staff and/or Managing Redundancy policy must be observed)
- to avoid a redundancy situation elsewhere a “bumped” redundancy may be identified
Employees who choose to apply for release under this policy are not guaranteed to have their application accepted or approved. Management reserves absolute discretion to decide whether to accept any individual application under this policy. The decision whether to accept a particular application will depend on the Council’s need to retain the types of knowledge, skills and competencies that it considers to be essential to meet its future organisational aims, the need to retain people with different skills and other circumstances it considers to be appropriate to the delivery of services.
The objective of this policy is to permit the premature release of an employee, with the appropriate compensatory benefits, where at least one of the following criteria is met:
- to assist with workforce management and our workforce strategy which is to ensure that we have the “right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time”
- where fewer employees are needed to carry out some or all of the work
- to assist in the provision of more responsive, efficient and cost-effective services
- to assist with the retention of employees and maintenance of a balanced workforce
- to achieve a balanced budget
The cost to the Council of an employee leaving under this policy will be critically evaluated against the financial savings and other quantifiable organisational benefits derived from the employee’s release.
Each case under this policy will be considered on its own individual merits. Management’s decision on whether or not to accept or reject an individual application is final.
Note 1 – relationship to Managing Redundancy Policy
This policy complements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Council’s Managing Redundancy Policy, where applicable.
Note 2 – considering cases where there is no cost benefit
Cases of early release under this policy should normally only be supported where there is a financial benefit to the Council. However, in exceptional circumstances, it may be appropriate for the Council to consider favourably an application where a cost would arise. Such cases would need to be carefully documented to demonstrate the non-financial factors that justified application of this policy. It is emphasised that cases must be exceptional and any costs would need to be reasonable.
3.When the policy does not apply
- This policy will not be used to address sub standard work performance and/or poor attendance; this will be dealt with either through the GTC Code of Practice on Teacher Competence and/or the Maximising Attendance procedure
- The Council has separate policies/processes for flexible and ill-health retirement
4. Options available to employees
There are two choices open to employees. The first option applies to all employees. The second option is ONLY open to employees who are members of the STSS and can access their pension benefits with the consent of the employer.
Option 1 – Voluntary Severance
The opportunity to apply for “voluntary severance” is open to ALL employees. This may arise in situations where there is a potential redundancy or efficiency of the service. This is irrespective of the employee being a member of the STSS, or not. The benefits that will apply are shown as a one off voluntary severance payment in accordance with the ready reckoner detailed below.
Option 2(a) – Early Retirement on the grounds of Redundancy
The opportunity to apply for “Early Retirement on the grounds of redundancy” is restricted to employees in the STSS who are able to access their pension benefits with the consent of the employer. In cases where a request for early retirement is supported by the Council the benefits that will apply include immediate access to pension benefit without reduction and a one off redundancy payment in accordance with the ready reckoner detailed at Appendix 2.
Option 2(b) Early retirement on the grounds of Efficiency of the Service
With regard to early retirement on the grounds of efficiency of the service, again this is restricted to employees who are able to access their pension benefits, with the consent of the employer, whose cases are supported. No redundancy payment will apply in such cases.
5. Difference between “voluntary severance” and “early retirement”
“Voluntary severance” applies to all employees covered by this scheme
“Early retirement” is applicable only to those employees in the STSS who, under the pension regulations, are able to access their pension benefits.
The benefits are likely to differ depending on whether an employee is leaving under voluntary severance or early retirement, however the process for making and dealing with applications is the same.
Restrictions on Returning to Employment with Aberdeen City Council
The following re-employment restrictions will apply to employee who have volunteered and accepted an offer made under this policy.
a.Restrictions for employees who accept an offer of Voluntary Severance/Early Severance
Where an employee has an application for voluntary severance/early retirement approved by the Council, there will be an expressed and clear undertaking that where an application is approved the employee shall not apply for or accept paid work for Aberdeen City Council for a period of at least 12 months from the last date of employment. This provision also includes returning as an agency worker or working for Aberdeen City Council as an independent consultant.
This restriction can be waived if the person concerned either:
- agrees to refund the difference in value between the voluntary severance payment they actually received and when the statutory maximum redundancy payment would have been.
- requests this restriction to be waived due to a significant change in their personal circumstances and this is agreed by the Service Director. The Service Director must be satisfied that there would be significant service benefit to allow the person to be considered for future paid service.
- the Service Director can agree to waive this restriction in respect of appointments to the Teacher Relief Pool where there is exceptional need to expand the pool of relief teachers
b.Provisions for Employees who are made compulsorily redundant
No such restrictions apply to employees who are made compulsory redundant, although by statutory provisions they will lose their right to their redundancy payment if they are re-employed by the Council, or employed by a body covered by the Modification Orders, within 4 weeks of their leaving date.
Relevant Links and Documents
- Worked Examples of Calculating VSER
- Compulsory Redundancy Ready Reckoner
- Early Retirement Redundancy Ready Reckoner
- Voluntary Severance Payment Ready Reckoner
- Managing Redundancy Policy
- Management of Excess Teaching Staff
- Compulsory Transfer Procedure
- Maximising Attendance
- GTC Code of Practice on Teacher Competence
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