Retirement is an exciting time, but also a confusing one. You have a lot of options when it comes to how you retire, as well as for how you draw down your pension. If you have a problem with your pension or retirement and believe that you’re being treated unfairly, call our Service Centre on 0800 389 6332 to see how we can help.

Choosing to retire

There is no longer an enforced retirement age – people can usually work for as long as they want to. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you for deciding to continue working, at any age. (There are some exceptions, where employers can set an age cap for clearly justifiable reasons.)

When you do choose to retire, you should think about how you want to do it; you have the right to request a phased retirement, which may include reduced hours, or flexible working. (You have to have been working for the same employer for at least 26 weeks in order to make this request.) Your employer doesn’t have to agree to your request, but they do have to seriously consider it, and give sound business reasons for its refusal.

Bear in mind that flexible working may have an impact on any workplace pension schemes that you are enrolled with.

If you're unhappy with your employer’s decision, you can challenge it at an employment tribunal.

Your state pension

Retirement age is not the same as the State Pension age, which can be between 61 and 68, depending on gender and birth date. At State Pension age, you begin to receive a weekly income from the government, as long as you have made National Insurance contributions (or have credits) during your working life. The amount you will receive will vary, but the most you can receive is £115.95 per week for a single person on a basic pension. To work out how much you will receive, you can use a State Pension calculator.


Your workplace pension

A workplace pension is a way of saving for your retirement that’s been arranged by your employer. It involves a portion of your wages being placed into a ‘pension pot’ – and is often topped up by your employer too. When you reach retirement (or before in some cases) you can access your workplace pension. The amount and way in which you can access your workplace pension will depend on your specific scheme.

New laws mean that all employers with over 50 staff must now automatically enroll them in a workplace pension scheme. (Employers with under 50 staff will have to comply with this rule in 2017.) This rule applies to anyone who:

  • Is aged between 22 and State Pension age
  • Earns more than £10,000 a year
  • Works in the UK

You can receive a workplace pension at the same time as receiving your State Pension and any other personal pensions.


For detailed advice on your pension, you can visit the government pension advice website.