Mandatory retirement

Mandatory retirement also known as enforced retirement is the set age at which people who hold certain jobs or offices are required by industry custom or by law to leave their employment, or retire. Typically, mandatory retirement is justified by the argument that certain occupations are either too dangerous (military personnel) or require high levels of physical and mental skill (air traffic controllers, airline pilots). Most rely on the notion that a worker's productivity declines significantly after age 65, and the mandatory retirement is the employer's way to avoid reduced productivity.[1] However, since the age at which retirement is mandated is often somewhat arbitrary and not based upon an actual physical evaluation of an individual person, many view the practice as a form of age discrimination, or ageism.[2] Economist Edward Lazear has argued that mandatory retirement can be an important tool for employers to construct wage contracts that prevent worker shirking.[1] Employers can tilt the wage profile of a worker so that it is below marginal productivity early on and above marginal productivity toward the end of the employment relationship. In this way, the employer retains extra profits from the worker early on, which he returns in the later period if the worker has not shirked his duties or responsibilities in the first period (assuming a competitive market).

By country


In Australia, compulsory retirement is expressly unlawful throughout the various State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia.[3]

The Governor-General can remove Justices of the High Court (and other Parliament-created courts) in limited circumstances (because of the constitutional separation of powers doctrine) so a Constitutional amendment was passed in 1977 to enforce a mandatory retirement age of 70 for federal judges.


The Constitution of Brazil says in Article 40, Paragraph 1, Item II, that all public servants in the Union, States, Cities and the Federal District shall mandatorily retire at the age of 70.[4] This regulation encompasses servants from the executive, legislative and judicial branches. It also applies to the Supreme Federal Court Justices, as per Article 93, Item VI, of the Constitution,[4] and the Court of Accounts of the Union Judges, as stated in Article 73, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (disposition added after the 20th Amendment).[4]


The normal age for retirement in Canada is 65, but one cannot be forced to retire at that age.[5] Labour laws in the country do not specify a retirement age.[6] Age 65 is when federal Old Age Security pension benefits begin, and most private and public retirement plans have been designed to provide income to the person starting at 65 (an age is needed to select premium payments by contributors to be able to calculate how much money is available to retirees when they leave the program by retiring).[7]

All judges in Canada are subject to mandatory retirement, at 70 or 75 depending on the court.[8] Federal senators cease to hold their seats at 75.

Mandatory retirement of federally regulated employees is prohibited from December 2012.[9]

United Kingdom

In October 2006 the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, the UK Labour Government introduced a Default Retirement Age, whereby employers are able to terminate or deny employment to people over 65 without a reason. A legal challenge to this failed in September 2009, although a review of the legislation was expected in 2010 by the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government.[10][11] This review has taken place and on 17 February 2011 BIS published the draft Regulations abolishing the Default Retirement Age.[12] The draft Regulations were later revised and the final version was laid before Parliament on 1 March 2011.[13] As of 6 April 2011, employers can no longer give employees notice of retirement under Default Retirement Age provisions and will need to objectively justify any compulsory retirement age still in place to avoid age discrimination claims.[14]

United States

Mandatory retirement is generally unlawful in the United States, except in certain industries and occupations that are regulated by law, and are often part of the government (such as military service and federal police agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

From the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website:

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA's protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.[15]

From the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations discussing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act: of the original purposes of this provision, namely, that the exception does not authorize an employer to require or permit involuntary retirement of an employee within the protected age group on account of age,[16] employer can no longer force retirement or otherwise discriminate on the basis of age against an individual because (s)he is 70 or older.[16]

Certain professions

By religion

Roman Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Paul VI introduced a mandatory retirement age of 70 for priests and 75 for bishops and archbishops. There is no mandatory retirement age for cardinals nor for the pope, as they hold these positions for life, but cardinals age 80 or over are prohibited from participating in the papal conclave.

See also


  1. 1 2
  2. Retiring Retirement
  3. "australia". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  4. 1 2 3 Constitution of Brazil. (in Portuguese). Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  5. "Canada". 2006-12-12. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  6. Archived 23 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security". 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  8. "Supreme Court of Canada - Canadian Judicial System". 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  9. "Tories in Canada end forced retirement, decades of 'age discrimination'". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  10. "UK retirement age challenge fails". BBC News. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  11. "Q&A: Retirement ruling". BBC News. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  12. "displays items". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  13. "displays items". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  14. "Age discrimination in employment: employer groups welcome the abolition of the default retirement age". 2011-09-30. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  15. "Facts About Age Discrimination". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  16. 1 2 "US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  17. "Press Release – FAA Statement on Pilot Retirement Age". 14 December 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  19. Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (July 7, 2015). "Minnesota judges aren't making a fuss about retirement rule". Pioneer Press. St. Paul, MN. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
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