Partial retirement allows active pension scheme members to take some or all their pension and tax-free lump sum and continue working. This means you can reduce your working hours or pay and have a combination of pay and pension until you fully retire. During this period, you can also build up more pension that will be paid when you fully retire.

Is Partial Retirement for me?

You can choose how much of your pension to take at partial retirement – any pension you don’t use at this stage will be paid when you fully retire.

Partial retirement is available to all pension scheme members who meet the following criteria:

  • You’ve agreed with your employer to reshape your job by reducing your pay by at least 20% (by either reducing your working hours or your pay eg downgrading)
  • You apply for partial retirement no more than 3 months after reshaping your job
  • You’re over minimum pension age for your pension scheme:
    • classic and classic plus – 50
    • Premium if you joined before 06/04/2006 - 50
    • Premium if you joined after 06/04/2006 – 55
    • Nuvos and alpha – 55

If you claim your pension before pension age, it will be actuarially reduced for early payment.

What happens if I moved to the alpha pension scheme from my previous PCSPS(NI) arrangement? 

You can partially retire once using your alpha pension benefits and once using your Civil Service Pension benefits. If you choose to take your alpha and PCSPS(NI) benefits at the same time you can only partially retire once. If you choose to only take your PCSPS(NI) benefits at partial retirement you can, at a later date choose to further partially retire using only your alpha benefits.

For more information and examples to see if partial retirement is right for you, read our Guide to Partial Retirement and Section 05B of the alpha Scheme Guide


Step by step guide to partial retirement


1. Reshape your job 

6 months before your planned partial retirement date you must agree with your employer to reduce your salary by at least 20%, by either reducing your hours or your pay. You must apply for partial retirement no more than 3 months after your job is reshaped and confirm the date with your employer of when your partial retirement will begin.

2. Calculator 

Use the partial retirement calculator to see how taking partial retirement will affect your income.

3. How to apply 

Employers covered by HRConnect

If you wish to proceed, and your employer is covered by HRConnect you should then download the Job Reshaping (Partial Retirement) application form and User Guide from the Employee Services Portal (ESP) and follow the instructions. If you do not have access to the ESP you should contact your Departmental/Agency HR Section.

Non-HRConnect employers  

If your employer is not covered by HRConnect you should complete sections 1-3 of  the partial retirement application form and liaise with your employer.

4. Quote

Between 6 and 8 weeks before your partial retirement date we will send you a quote of your pension options, relevant option forms and Personal Details Form.

For those members impacted by 2015 Remedy (McCloud), it will also include a choice about how you would like your remedy period benefits to be calculated. You should complete and return your forms as soon as possible.

5. Lump sum payment

Any lump sum due should be paid shortly after your partial retirement date into the bank account you provided in your claim form. You’ll get a statement confirming how much your partial retirement pension lump sum will be.

6. Pension payment 

Your pension will begin one month after your partial retirement date. It is paid monthly in arrears unless you are subject to full abatement.

Find out more about abatement.

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