Automatically fired when you’re 67? ‘Stop that!’

Automatic early retirement means that an employee stops working as soon as he or she reaches retirement age.

Labor shortage

According to Den Haan, many employers and employees do not know that you can continue working, while many employees want to. “I think it is important to publicize the fact that you should not stop, but that you can work less or look for other work.”

Every older person should be able to decide for themselves whether to continue working, says Den Haan. Due to ageing, the outflow is increasing. “I find it really strange that when you reach a certain age, it is said that you have to stop. The nice side effect is that more people become available for the tight labor market. We desperately need everyone.”

Work longer

Erik Scherder (71), professor of neuropsychology and author of the book ‘Getting old, staying young’, fully agrees with Den Haan’s plan. He still works full time himself. “Continuing to work has a great health effect. The challenge can do you very good mentally. It improves your health so that you also keep going.”

This does not mean that continuing to work is always best: “Many literature states that if you are worn out and physically exhausted, then you should retire. Because then you see people recovering physically.”

Smooth rules

Employment lawyer Suzanne Meijers has a different view of the plan. She says that there are already many flexible rules for employers to keep people of state pension age in work. “For example, you have to pay sick employees of state pension age for less time.”

She does not think that abolishing early retirement will solve anything. “I think that you saddle employers with extra regulatory pressure. Because if they want to say goodbye to someone, they have to talk about it or maybe even go to court. It becomes more complicated for employers.”

She also wonders whether as many people really want to continue working as Den Haan says. For that reason, she does not expect major effects on the labor market if the early retirement scheme is abolished. “If people want to continue working, they really know how to find their way. That familiarity is there, and perhaps that should be emphasized a bit more.”

Den Haan thinks that awareness is too little: “I think it really helps if you remove early retirement from the collective labor agreement and employers are obliged to have a conversation: do you want to stop or do you want to continue?”

Imaging

In addition, something needs to change in the image of the elderly, says Den Haan. “For example, you hear from employers who are against this proposal that their employees will soon be sick more often and that it will cost them a lot of money. That is something that is absolutely not true. Older people have about the same number of sick days, according to research.”

Scherder also believes that there is unjustified stereotyping. “Why do we think that people aged 60 or 65 will be less? Many studies show that it is already less from the age of 30,” he responds. “The differences within age groups are much greater than between groups. You have people of 35 who also think: this is fine, and people of 35 who go for it. That is also the case with older people.”

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