Retirement – Delicate Issue

With the demise of mandatory retirement…

An interesting article was posted recently in the Canadian HR Reporter by Liz Bernier regarding the new retirement legislation.

Putting pressure on older workers to retire, is discrimination. Some employers are now trying to navigate new waters when it comes to the law. There are a few options that may be worth some thought.

Implementing a performance management system can assist in making distinctions about your high and low performers. Some employees may not be able to do the job, “but then it’s incumbent on the employer to have a proper performance evaluation system”. Keep in mind that it is still up to the employer to accommodate an employee based on age-related disabilities.

Do not target an employee based on their age. Your evaluation system should be implemented to determine whether all of your employees are performing optimally, regardless of their age. Your system must be fair and equitable to be defensible.

If done in a delicate manner, a fact-finding conversation with your employee about their future plans can be advantageous. But be very careful, ask the employee what they want, do not talk about retirement or age and base the conversation on the company’s need for succession planning.

However, a voluntary buy-out program may be the safest option since an employee would enter the program voluntarily.

When in doubt, consult with your organization’s legal counsel as how best to proceed.

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