Fleming: ‘Proponent Of Raising Retirement Age’


“Age Concern has been a proponent of raising the retirement age for several decades,” Executive Director Dr. Claudette Fleming said, adding that “we believe that those who are capable of working and that have the desire to work should not be subjected to forced retirement.”

Dr Fleming’s comments follow after Premier David Burt told Bernews that pension reform is likely to involve a “gradual increase of the retirement age” as we “have to make our pension funds sustainable,” with the Premier saying that reform will “extend the life of the fund out from where it’s projected now to run out of money in 2049.”

“It will be phased in, it will be something that will be subject to consultation,” the Premier added, with his comments made during a recent Bernews interview, and following after the Auditor General’s report noted that a review indicated that under the current system the pension fund could be “exhausted in 2049″.

Video excerpt showing the Premier discussing pension reform:

Age Concern Executive Director Dr. Claudette Fleming told Bernews, “Age Concern has been a proponent of raising the retirement age for several decades.

“Our interest has been from the Human Rights perspective as it pertains to age discrimination in the work place, in particular. We believe that those who are capable of working and that have the desire to work should not be subjected to forced retirement, which we also believe requires the protection of the Human Rights Act.

“To date, ‘age’ is not considered as a basis of discrimination in the workplace under our Human Rights Act. Raising the retirement age, while a welcomed change to the current status quo for some, may not be enough for others. Perhaps a more welcomed change would be amending the Human Rights Act to include ‘age’ as a basis of discrimination in the workplace.”

Dr. Fleming also stated: “I suspect that the public will require further clarity from the Premier on whether the abolishment of mandatory retirement all together is being considered, as there are distinct differences and policy implications between raising the retirement age and abolishing it.

“For some, increasing the retirement age may simply be an exercise of kicking the discrimination can further down the road. Whereas, for others abolishing mandatory retirement all together, represents a more progressive step to truly honoring the right that should belong to every person irrespective of age: the right to earn a living.

“While addressing the pension shortfall is important, limiting the retirement age discussion to that issue alone does not acknowledge the broader Human Rights issue at hand.”

“We therefore look forward to further details on how the Government intends to proceed on this very important issue.” concluded Dr. Fleming.

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