Friday, 30 July 2010

Retirement Age

Are you looking forward to retirement or is it the moment when you will be forced to leave the work you love? The fixed retirement age is 65 for men and 60 for women but in October next year there will be no compulsory retirement. At first glance this is a great step forward. You may now choose to continue to work if you love your work. If you don't then it doesn't matter because you can still retire.

For the individual the great advantage is that you have greater earnings. What is wrong with working five or ten years longer if you feel fit to do so? The coalition government agrees. Money would be saved on paying out pensions, the workers will still be paying tax and the biggest advantage is that the move provides freedom of choice to individuals.

On the other hand many people will choose to extend their working life simply because their pension is not good enough. They may well choose to work when they are not capable and employers will have a much greater incidence of having to sack failing employees - not an easy process at the best of times. If it is alright to work for five of ten years then what about fifteen or twenty? Is it possible to have an 85 year-old postman? If there is no compulsion then who is going to tell them they can't deliver letters? I have also heard the criticism that businesses will be limited in their ability to manage their workforce. At the moment they know when their staff will retire. Also, if members of staff are not retiring at 60 or 65 then there must be fewer jobs for a younger, more able workforce.

It looks like there is more adverse criticism to the move than there is praise. How do you reconcile the complaints? Well the demographics are looking like we have no choice. We need people to work so young people will be employed. We do need a simple method of ensuring that members of staff are fit for their work, but this shouldn't be beyond the wit of this government.

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