Relaxing the mandatory retirement age and the oganizational climate regarding working beyond public pension age

Working after the public pension age is increasingly common in the Netherlands, but is still unattainable for many older workers since they are automatically dismissed when reaching the mandatory retirement age. This is not the case for civil servants working at the national government, for which it has been common practice since 2008 to let older workers decide for themselves whether they want to continue working. In this article, we study whether this policy has led to older civil servants feeling more stimulated to work past the public pension age and whether they experience informal obstacles that may refrain them from continued employment. Comparing 341 older civil servants with more than 5,000 older workers from other sectors, we find that civil servants on average experience more freedom to work past public pension age, but also that there are large numbers of civil servants that do not feel free to make this decision. Also, many civil servants expect their manager to react negatively when they want to continue working. Civil servants and older workers from other sectors are similar in their desired and expected retirement ages. Relaxing the link between state pension age and mandatory retirement has not led to more older workers extending their retirement date beyond the public pension age.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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