Working longer, U.S. style


As European legislation outlawing age discrimination in the workplaces looms ever nearer, it is easy to forget that compulsory retirement was abolished in the United States as long ago as 1986, meaning that U.S. employers must show that older workers can no longer perform their jobs before forcing them to retire.

Meanwhile, according to the LA Times, an increasing number of Americans are staying employed past age 75, earning income that is a perk for some, but a necessity for others.

In fact a 2003 survey found that 68 per cent of Americans aged between 50 and 70 expected to work past normal retirement age, with financial need the No 1 reason for keeping going.

The oldest worker in the U.S. is apparently Ella Clarke Nuite of Georgia, who at the age of 101 still works every day at her family's bottled water business.

In addition to the water business, Nuite manages nine rental properties that she bought and rehabbed 20 years ago. Keeping them rented and in good repair takes a lot of her time, she said.

"I wouldn't do it for so long if I didn't enjoy it," she said of her daily schedule. "It's just a part of me."

In contrast, half the UK workforce expect to retire by the time they reach 60, according to recent poll, with a further quarter looking to retire by the age of 65.

But unless the UK has discovered a ready source of money tree seed, we think they might be in for a bit of a shock.

LA Times | A New Wrinkle in Workforce