Open ways for industrious seniors to continue working until 70 years old

The number of people who want to continue working even after they reach the age of 65 is increasing. Companies need to come up with a variety of ideas to realize their wishes.

The revised Law on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons went into effect in April. Companies are currently required to secure employment opportunities for workers to continue to be employed until 65. In addition, the revised law obliges companies to make efforts to provide job opportunities until they reach 70.

Under the revised law, in addition to abolishing or extending the retirement age and introducing a continuous employment system, companies are allowed to enter into outsourcing contracts with retirees who have become freelancers. There is also an option to introduce a system under which elderly people can engage as paid volunteers in social contribution projects that the companies are involved in.

Each company should actively consider how they can respond to an elderly person’s wish to work.

With the low birthrate and shrinking labor force, it is significant that elderly people who are highly motivated to work will be able to do so for a long time and continue supporting society.

In a Cabinet Office survey of people aged 60 and older, a majority said they wish to work beyond 65 — including some who answered that they want to work “forever.” For the elderly, continuing to work will not only strengthen their economic foundations, but also will enhance a sense of purpose in their lives.

There are many companies that have achieved positive results through the employment of the elderly.

Daiwa Securities Co. eliminated the age limit for some sales workers to continue working under its postretirement continuous employment system.

Employees in their late 60s and 70s make use of their experience and show outstanding performance in such areas as asset management and inheritance consulting. The company has many customers who are in the same generation as those elder workers, which has helped the company strengthen its sales force.

As people age, individual differences in physical strength and other factors widen. It is essential for companies to listen carefully to the wishes of workers and create systems that reflect the circumstances of the workplace. Firms also need to pay attention to the creation of a safe workplace so as not to cause work-related accidents.

Labor and management must thoroughly discuss personnel and wage systems for all employees.

It will also be necessary for employees to think about their life plans at an early stage and improve their abilities for that purpose. It is important to increase opportunities for in-house and public vocational training.

Older people also have to decide from what age they will receive their pension benefits.

The starting age for receiving benefits is 65 in principle. But if they wish, they can delay the starting year until as late as 70. Beginning in fiscal 2022, the start can be delayed until as late as 75. The later the start, the higher the monthly benefit. For those who start at 75, the amount will be 84% greater than for those who start at 65.

This system encourages people to choose not to depend on pension benefits as much as possible while they are able to work, but to increase their income after retirement by delaying the start of receiving benefits. The government should make efforts to widely inform the public of this system with thorough explanations.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on April 8, 2021.