Part time or Early retirement on health ?

Im again looking for advise and Whereto go for impartial advise .

Im 52 and a full time SEN teacher, can walk unaided but do use accesstowork for a taxis due to fatigue and leg weakness at the end of a long and usually very tiring day. With all the changes happening in education at the moment the demands on myself are increasing not decreasing and I spent all my free time recovering to go back to work. I would like to either go part time or retire but how do I go about voicing this and who do I speak to . My Employer knows i have MS and they were very supportive. Now I find they expect the same level of performance as a well person and its tiring and stressful asking for help and support all the time, basically i dont bother now.

Any advice welcomed , at this moment in time feeling rather low about it all.

thank you


Hi there, I must just say that it is great that you are still managing to work but now how difficult it is. Many years ago, I had a job that I loved but following a serious relapse, I was given early retirement!!! I was 35 at time.

My advice would be if your employer supports you, then maybe you could work part time, but if the stress of teaching is too much then maybe the right thing would be to leave.

I know that it is a very very hard decision to make and I am sure I haven’t helped, YOU will know the right decision. Be brave and strong whatever you decide.

Best wishes


Hi Meganruth,

The choice may not be yours to make, I’m afraid. Ill health retirement is not usually the sole decision of the employee, but something that may be offered by the employer - usually following a considerable period when the employee has not been able to work. If you are not off sick, and haven’t been, then I think the chances of ill health retirement being on the table are fairly slim. Of course, there is nothing to stop you resigning, but if your aim is to stop work AND collect some sort of occupational pension, you will probably have to meet quite strict criteria, and it will be up to (for example) work Occupational Health to determine whether you’re too ill to work. It won’t be something you just decide for yourself.

The conditions will depend on the exact terms of your pension scheme. Some schemes insist you must be too ill to do ANY kind of work - so you can’t chuck in the existing job, collect the ill health pension, AND then accept other paid work somewhere else.

Others are less strict, and just say you must be unfit to do the type of work you’re engaged for at the moment - but there’s no barrier to accepting different work, that would not be so hard on your health.

So you really need to check the small print of the scheme, and maybe discuss your options with HR, or the Union, if you are in one.

One thing to bear in mind if you do decide to go part time is unfortunately ALL your benefits will be reduced pro rata - not just pay, but holiday, pension, the lot.

I’m not in teaching, but was very lucky not to get stung by this. I had, for a long time, considered switching to a three-day week. I never got round to it, because I was unwilling to take the financial hit, so I just struggled on. Then, in Summer of last year, I was made redundant (unconnected with health - hundreds of people affected). I was so relieved I’d resisted the temptation to go part-time, because I would only have collected three fifths of my redundancy settlement - it’s calculated on the hours you were working at the time, not whatever you’d been doing the previous 20 years.

So if I’d gone with my urge, and reduced my hours, I would have lost thousands!

Just something to be careful of…



I guess as a teacher you are in the local government superannuation scheme?

Before I go on is this true,if so I have just been through it.


Soundslike you will get some good advice off pip having just gone through it, I was retired on grounds of ill health, I was also 35 like Michelle, I was in the nhs superannuation scheme, I was off work for 6 months on full pay then 6 at half pay all the time I was having appointments with my occupational health then near the end with HR and i was then offered the,opportunity to retire on ill health grounds, it wasn’t the decision of occ health they sent off the application on my behalf and I was granted it. I would say get in touch with occupational health andHR first off. Good luck ope it goes well for you.

This is a very emotionally charged area (I’ve been there too.)

My suggestion is to stand back from the emotional side and do the sums first How many years’ service do you have in? What would be the effect on your pension of going part-time? What will you get if you take ill-health retirement now? What would you get if you went part time now and took ill-health retirement in a few years’ time? Would you be kicking yourself that you did not retire on ill-health while your pension was still based on full time salary? Or doesn’t it make much difference?

Sorry if this sounds like being cold and hard about a sensitive topic, but I think cold and hard and calculating is exactly what you need to be when it comes to your long-term financial security. Once you know what the sums look like, then are in the best-informed position you can be to think about how you actually feel about all this. It’s tough stuff, this. I really feel for you.



Hi meganruth.

A few months ago I was “advised” to work part time by my employer (NHS) because I had been off sick several times in a short space of time due to my MS.

I resented the advice at the time because it felt that I was giving in to my condition, however I did go for it and it is the best move that I could have made.

I can now do the things that I enjoy i.e. swimming and I am still awake in the evening to talk to my family.

Should have gone for it ages ago.

If you can afford to I would go for it.

Good Luck with your choice.

Julie xx.

Hi Meganruth

You do need some impartial, objective advice. Are you in a union?

If you go part time, it could well affect your pension as Anitra said.

Get some proper advice before you make any irreversible decision


Hi meganruth

I do not know much about this but I do know that there is a scheme called something like ‘flexible retirement’ I know someone who went part-time and then Ill Health Retirement and becuse of this flexible ritirement thing when he retired he did not lose anything it was as if he had not reduced his hours when he got his money.

This was a man who worked in local goverment as I did so the teachers pension just might be the same. If I were you I would enquire about this.

I asume you do know you can ask for a ‘Pension forcast’ that will tell you exactly how much you would get.

Also MS is a critical illness so you may be entiteled to more money.

Also if you have a mortgage you need to check if it has got critical illness cover - just might pay your mortgage off.

There is a great deal to consider.

Greetings,and may I humbly suggest that if you can afford it,will not become marginalised and have plenty to do, then get out and concentrate on yourself and those you care about.

Good luck,



I was a teacher (SEN too) and took early retirement some years ago.

Like Tina said, I had been off work sick for 12 months before this happened. I was offered to go back part time but I declined. My experience of working with part time colleagues was that they worked far more than the hours they were supposed to for no pay and were generally put upon by management to fill in when people were off sick etc.

At that time my contract stated that my pension would be based on the best of the previous 3 years so any more than a couple of years part time and my pension was going to take a knock.

I think your first step is to go off sick (you will most likely get 6 months full pay and 6 months half) and then to take stock of your situation. You can’t ask for ill health retirement out of the blue so it would be the next step if that is what you decided anyway.