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Policy information

Approved by Council
Reviewed by HRMAG, ERMC, VCMAG, UHRC, IF, Senate, Council (view acronym list)
Updated ERMC, UHRC, VCMAG (view acronym list) Date November 2015
Policy owner Director: Compensation & Benefits
Enquiries HR Client Services (view contacts)

Policy summary

Category Age Approval Reason Rights and benefits Post-retirement appointment
Normal retirement from UCT End of year in which member turns 65 None required Retirement age is stipulated by the UCT Entitled to all rights and benefits Exceptionally only
Early retirement from UCT From the 55th birthday None required Staff member elects to retire early Eligible for all rights and benefits Exceptionally only
Incentivised early retirement from UCT From the 55th birthday EDHR, Vice-Chancellor, Remuneration Committee of Council Initiated by the HOD for operational or transformational reasons Package is negotiated with EDHR; may involve severance Exceptionally only
Deferral of retirement age from UCT From the end of the year in which member turns 65 DVC Academic, Vice-Chancellor Applicable to A and B1 rated researchers Entitled to all rights and benefits once he or she retires Exceptionally only
Ill-health retirement from UCT and the UCTRF Post 55th birthday Line manager, EDHR, DVC Ill health Entitled to all rights and benefits N/A
Pre 55th birthday As above, trustees of UCTRF As above As above As above


This policy clarifies the different circumstances under which a staff member may retire and the benefits associated with the retirement. The policy also identifies the circumstances under which an individual may be appointed after retirement.

Applicable to

All permanent and T2 academic, PASS and joint staff members on UCT conditions of service. Some provisions apply to retired joint staff who were on PGWC or NHLS conditions of service.

Note: As it is now possible for a UCTRF member to retire from UCT and to become a deferred pensioner in the UCTRF please note that this policy deals with retirement from UCT. Retirement from the UCTRF may and usually will take place at the same date but will not always do so.

Not applicable to

T1 contract staff.

Policy details

  1. Retirement from UCT
    1. 1.1. Normal retirement

      1. 1.1.1. Normal retirement occurs when the employment contract ends at the end of the year in which a staff member on UCT conditions of service turns 65.

    2. 1.2. Early retirement
      1. 1.2.1. Early retirement arises when a staff member decides to retire after his or her 55th birthday and before the end of the year he or she turns 65. A staff member may elect to retire at any time after attaining the age of 55 years.

        1.2.2. The required notice must be given.

    3. 1.3. Incentivised early retirement
      1. 1.3.1. Early retirement arises when, for operational and/or transformational reasons, a Head of Department may apply for the incentivised early retirement of a staff member, with the support of the staff member. This can take place any time after the staff member attains the age of 55 and before the year in which they turn 65.

        1.3.2. A package is negotiated with the EDHR, and is subject to the approval of the Vice-Chancellor and the Remuneration Committee of Council.

        1.3.3. Reasons for incentivised early retirement include:

        1. To facilitate the reorganisation of an area or unit; and/or
        2. In order to retain or advance staff who are promotable; and/or
        3. To advance an employment equity plan, or for employment equity reasons.
    4. 1.4. Deferred retirement
      1. 1.4.1. The retirement age is deferred indefinitely for A- and B1-rated researchers whose posts are fully funded by the University. Should the post not be fully funded by UCT, arrangements will need to be negotiated with the DVC for academic affairs.

        1.4.2. Where application for rating is under way, appointments would continue and be deferred or terminated thereafter based on the result of the ranking.

        1.4.3. Eligible staff qualify for deferment automatically but must have the support of both the Head of Department and Dean.

        1.4.4. Final approval is given by the DVC Academic and the Vice-Chancellor.

        1.4.5. Eligible staff continue their substantive roles as permanent, full-time academics with a work load to be determined by the Head of Department, which can be negotiated but which must include the requirement to mentor younger academic staff.

        1.4.6. Staff on deferred retirement remain on permanent academic conditions of service, however disability income cover and UCTRF death cover fall away at the end of the year the person turns 65 and separate death cover and funeral cover fall away at age 70. As these insurance premiums fall away, the resultant premium savings will be channelled to the staff member’s retirement savings.

        1.4.7. If the A or B1-rating is not renewed, the deferment falls away and the person is required to retire at the end of that year.

    5. 1.5. Ill-health retirement
      1. 1.5.1. Ill-health retirement is possible when a staff member, who is not yet 55, is in ill-health and applies to be allowed to retire on grounds of ill health rather than the disability income benefit.

  2. Appointment post retirement
    1. 2.1. Approval for post-retirement appointment

      1. 2.1.1. Post-retirement appointments are exceptional and not normal.

        2.1.2. In exceptional circumstances, however, particularly where it is important to avoid or lessen the loss of accumulated scholarly expertise, approval may be gained from the Vice-Chancellor's nominee for academic staff or the EDHR for PASS staff on the following grounds:

        1. Where the individual is appointed to supervise postgraduate students, particularly doctoral students.
        2. Where the appointment takes place in order to undertake or finish a specific project or body of work. A motivation and detailed plan outlining the actual body of work must be submitted for approval. The post-retirement contract must specify an end date in all cases except for that of a Senior Research Fellow.
        3. Where there is an identified need to transfer specific skills. Clear objectives and outcomes must be detailed in the contract and monitored. The post-retirement contract must specify an end date.
        4. Where, as a result of scarce skills, it is difficult or impossible operationally to find an individual in the short term who can be appointed to the post. The skills must be identified and a plan put forward to accommodate for the transfer of skills and/or for the future accommodation of the scarcity of the skills. The post-retirement contract must specify an end date:
          1. Where the individual is appointed as a Senior Research Fellow by the University Research Committee (URC) where one of the responsibilities is to mentor junior academics; and/or
          2. Where the individual is appointed in any other role that includes the responsibility of mentoring junior researchers.

        2.1.3. A full motivation and relevant plans must be submitted at least six months prior to the intended appointment.

        2.1.4. Post-retirement appointments will be reported to the University HR Committee (UHRC).

      2.2. General conditions of appointments post early and early incentivised retirement

      1. 2.2.1. The appointment of an individual after early or incentivised early retirement is possible subject to the following conditions:

        1. The contract will not extend beyond the year in which the individual turns 65.
        2. The appointment is subject to normal recruitment and selection criteria including EE criteria.
        3. Conditions of service pertaining to the contract will be adhered to. This includes contributions to the UCTRF where included in the conditions of service.
        4. Any medical aid subsidy will not be awarded during such time as the 'retiree' is employed full time at UCT. When returning to the status of 'retiree', award of the medical aid subsidy as at time of retirement will resume.

      2.3. Appointment categories post retirement

      1. 2.3.1. Senior research scholar

        Retired professors from UCT or any other university, who are resident in the Western Cape, and who have an exceptional academic and teaching record, may be contracted for up to 3 years in a mentoring and/or supervising capacity. Nominations are by the Dean and approved by the DVC.

        See: Senior Research Scholars

        2.3.2. Senior scholar

        Any retired academic may be appointed as a Senior Scholar:

        1. For a fixed period, on a T1 contract. Appointments of Emeritus Professors, Associate Professors, Lecturers and Senior Lecturers will typically be as a Senior Scholar. The appointment will usually be paid and may involve teaching, research, mentoring and/or other duties as determined by the contract.
        2. This appointment category may be used to appoint retired academic staff without specified duties and without pay in recognition that they remain, although independent, academically active and should have a UCT affiliation with status and privileges similar to those of an Honorary Research Associate.
  3. Post retirement statuses
    1. 3.1. Emeritus professor or associate professor

      1. 3.1.1. An academic staff member who retires from the University as a Professor or an Associate Professor may be elected by Senate on the nomination of the Dean to be an Emeritus Professor or an Emeritus Associate Professor as the case may be, and shall on election enjoy the rights and privileges of emeritus rank. Normally at least ten years' service at the University is a prerequisite but Senate does consider exceptions as described in the Emeritus Professors and Emeritus Associate Professors policy.

  4. Rights and privileges of retired staff
    1. 4.1. Permanent staff members are entitled to all retirement benefits such as medical aid subsidy (if appointed before 1 January 2018), staff/pensioner tuition rates, and access to UCT sports facilities.

      4.2. Rights to office space, facilities and equipment as well as decision rights on research funds are given if appropriate to the position, and at the discretion of the HOD and/or Dean.

      4.3. Retired staff may elect to retain a UCT email account; this is automatic for retired staff who are elected to emeritus status but other retired staff will have to make an election if they wish to retain a UCT email account after retirement from UCT.

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Page last updated: 3rd November 2022