I got a call last week and I was asked this question. What is the legal retirement age in South Africa?
Section 187 of the Labour Relations Act renders discriminatory dismissals based on grounds such as race, sex, gender, religion and age automatically unfair. This is in line with the general prohibition of unfair discrimination on these and other grounds contained in the Constitution and the Employment Equity Act. However, where age is concerned, the Labour Relations Act makes an important exception, namely that an employer may retire its employees when they have reached the “agreed” or “normal” retirement age. Once the employee has reached this age, the employment relationship terminates and this does not constitute a dismissal for purposes of the Labour Relations Act, nor is it automatically unfair.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no general retirement age in South Africa. Employers and employees are therefore free to agree at which age the employees will retire. This agreement is normally found in the employee’s employment contract, or may, in special circumstances, be determined with reference to the rules of the retirement fund to which the employee belongs.
2. ENS – Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs say
Employers in South Africa continue to be troubled and to make mistakes about retirement. This is clear from the number of cases that come before the Labour Court. The Labour Relations Act says that a dismissal based on age is not unfair if the employee has reached the agreed or normal retirement age. However, employers frequently forget that what is ‘normal’ must be proved, and that for there to be an agreed retirement age, both parties must agree to it. Employers cannot simply declare a particular age to be the retirement age and think that this will automatically apply to all existing employees regardless of how long they have been employed for and what age they currently are.
WeszMadz says – So bottom line, There is no retirement age in South Africa. Unless agreed upon prior with the employee then it might be seen/taken as unfair dismissal or unfair discrimination.