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With people living longer and birth rates falling across Europe, a priority of EU policy is to encourage Europeans to remain in work beyond current retirement ages, to minimise pressure on pension systems.
At present, older workers often leave the workforce before statutory retirement age, with health problems and care responsibilities cited as common reasons. Many more people simply wish to work less. One possible way to balance this legitimate desire for a better work–life balance with the need to address demographic pressures is to make more widespread use of partial retirement schemes. These schemes enable older workers to reduce their working hours, while the loss of income is compensated for by a partial payment of their pension. At the same time, workers continue to earn and to contribute to that pension.
A report published by Eurofound explores the success of such schemes in extending working lives. No scheme was identified that unambiguously extended working lives for all participants. Partial retirement may have extended working lives for specific groups: overall, however, the reduction in hours enabled by partial retirement outweighs the increased hours due to prolonging the working lives of participants.
Read Extending working lives through flexible retirement schemes: Partial retirement at http://bit.ly/PartialRetirement