Retirement Age: A Moving Target

I read an article (see link below) about the possibility of full retirement being pushed from 66 to as high as 70 or 80 in the not too distant future. The gist of it is that keeping people working is the only way to make pensions and medical coverage more affordable, not to mention take the burden off our youth. The article cites a Gallup poll that shows Americans are beginning to accept that this kind of change is coming. The article goes on to say that this doesn't have to be a bad thing. That, "People can work in fields that engage them and provide personal satisfaction. Just because a person's first career was a grind doesn't mean the second one will be the same."

Older workers have considerable knowledge and skills that can be difficult to replace, so my questions:

- How does your company plan to keep workers engaged?
- Will you accommodate experienced workers who want to transition to part-time work or semi-retire?
- How would doing that impact younger workers in your organization? Would you have to allow them to work reduced hours as well?Please share your thoughts.




  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • In 2004 we brought back a retired employee on a part time basis. The employee worked on a special project one day per week, which essentially lasted 5 years. In the meantime, she would step in and fill the gap in her old position when they were short-staffed.

    Since then we have had job sharing when an employee neared retirement and wanted to reduce their hours, as well as bringing back retired employees on a PRN basis.

    With one exception, all of these employees worked in the same department, so the work has to be suitable for these kinds of changes. In addition, the work required special licensing, so they were not easily replaced. We continued to pay for education and licensing when employees went to part time. We did not do so for PRNs, and have found that over time if these employees are not required to work regularly their skills diminish.

    We reduced the hours for an employee in another department when they got near retirement, but in that case we were especially happy to do so due to changes in work flow.

    I think there are a number of variables to take into consideration when you decide to change from a traditional work schedule. Flexibility is key, in both employee knowledge and skills and the work required. Successful companies know this, and should be open to the possibilities and opportunities of hiring and/or keeping older employees.
  • Let me start by saying we have approximately 2500 employees and our average age is around 52. We have a couple ways to engage our workforce. We have casual employees who come in when needed or work a shortened workweek. We also hire retirees as consultants. Many of our employees have 25 or more years on the job. When they retire it is nice to know they are willing to consult and help out when needed.

    The company is also flexible on their full time work schedule. They allow 4-10, 9-80, 5-8, and compressed schedules as approved by management. All of this combines to retain and engage the older employees.**==
  • Pamelah,

    Sounds like you have a great set up. Just curious, what kind of business are you in?

  • Sharon -

    Our company is National Security Technologies, LLC. and we are a subcontractor to the Department of Energy.

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