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ECA: Benefits in increasing retirement age

Published: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Employers’ Consultative Association (ECA) is not opposed to the idea of increasing the retirement age, especially given T&T’s increasing life expectancy.

In a statement, the organization said between 1960 and 2014, life expectancy in T&T increased by almost ten years from 62.66 years to 72.29 years. However, the ECA cautioned that the consequences of such an action are extensive and requires comprehensive national discussions by social partners to determine the most appropriate and mutually beneficial way forward.

In February, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said increasing the official retirement age to 65 “is an important matter that requires careful consideration and discussion.”

At the time he was delivering the feature address at the opening of the new corporate headquarters of the National Insurance Board (NIB).

Imbert stressed then that pushing back the retirement age was not government policy and no decision had been taken on the matter.

The ECA, which specialises in industrial relations and human resource management issues, offered an opinion on an ageing workforce and its impact on the economy.

“When we look at the current state of the economy and factor in the uncertainty surrounding our future, we have all agreed that it cannot be business as usual.

“From the government’s perspective, there is a growing need to rationalise expenditure to compensate for the significant fall in revenues. By increasing the retirement age, this reduces the demand on the Government’s coffers via social services.

“This reduction in the provision of social services such as pension and the National Insurance System (NIS), will extend the life of these services to benefit future generations.

“This is especially important given an April 2015 actuarial review of the NIS scheme, which concluded that the system will be completely bankrupt in 24 to 25 years,” the ECA said.

The group added while most companies might be reluctant to hire people older than 60 years, the propensity to retain existing employees of that age is much higher and can be beneficial. It will assist in minimising the skills gap in the labour force, as older employees have more time to teach younger ones.