What Is a Mandatory Retirement Age?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Mandatory retirement age is a term that is used to describe the imposition of certain age limits in various industries above which employees are not permitted to continue working due to specified reasons. Usually, when the employees reach that age limit, they have the option of retiring upon which they will receive certain benefits in the form of pensions and any other packages if they qualify. The reasons for this imposition of a mandatory retirement age on people who may not want to retire has been attributed to factors like physical and mental degradation that usually accompanies advances in age as well as the need to open vacancies for an emerging, younger workforce.


One of the most interesting aspects of the mandatory retirement age is the fact that this practice is prevalent in the public sector and some sections of the private sector. Usually, people who do not work for anyone or are private practitioners do not have to retire at the same age as those who work in the public sector. An example of this can be seen in the case of an executive officer of a company who may be subject to a mandatory retirement age according to the company policy, unlike a sole proprietor who might be in charge of his or her company until he or she decides to retire or dies. Another interesting consideration in this issue is the fact that it is considered in some quarters to be a form of discrimination against older people who are still active and alert even at the attainment of the mandatory retirement age.

Depending on the country and the industry, the mandatory retirement age could be set at 60 or 65 years, even though people at that age still have a lot to offer. While this may be true, some industries or occupations actually require those involved to be in top physical and mental condition, something that is often equated with a certain age demographic. An example of this can be seen in the case of active military personnel where there is usually a wide application of a mandatory retirement age for the personnel due to the physical and mental demands of the profession. A common argument that is put forth in support of the establishment of a mandatory retirement age is that inevitable mental and physical depreciation occurs in the human body as a natural consequence of aging.


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