Bermuda Parliament (GP)
HAMILTON, Bermuda – Parliament has unanimously passed legislation to raise the mandatory retirement age for public service workers by three years – a move later hailed as a victory for seniors.
Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson told legislators on Friday that the Public Service Superannuation Amendment Act would increase the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 68.
Police officers, firefighters and Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers will not be affected by the change.
However, Dickinson said discussions were under way with representatives of the island’s uniformed services to decide what changes could be made.
He said the island’s ageing population and a predicted reduction in the number of working-age people meant action had to be taken.
Shadow Minister of Finance Scott Pearman said the opposition backed the legislation, noting that many seniors could hold down a job despite their age.
“The idea that certain people in the workforce must have a forcible departure because of the year they were born is nonsensical.”
Pearman said that, while some might be concerned that an increase to the retirement age might slow the ability of younger workers to move up the ranks, that concern was outweighed by other factors.
Deputy Opposition Leader Leah Scott said seniors could benefit from remaining in the workplace because it kept their minds and bodies active.
Claudette Fleming, executive director of charity Age Concern, said the amendment was a victory for seniors, adding, “our hope is that the increase in the retirement age will allow those who wish to work longer the opportunity to do so and, for those who may not be in a financial position to retire, the opportunity to continue to be gainfully employed for a longer period of time in their senior years.” (CMC)