Phased Retirement is a Win-Win for the Employee and the Organization

There are a number of critical elements to discuss with your employer as you introduce this idea and ask for a new working arrangement: If you are part of a defined benefit program (traditional pension plan) through your employer, talk to HR or legal counsel about how a reduced workload will affect your ultimate retirement benefits. Some companies have found creative (and legal!) ways of working around the issue of determining “final average pay” calculations, so you may want to do some research beforehand, but you should definitely explore this.

  • Find out how a reduced workload will affect your medical (and other) benefits
  • Ask about arrangements made for other older workers that you might leverage in your situation
  • If you are part of a union, you may want to discuss this with your union rep prior to talking to your manager, supervisor, or company HR rep

In addition, as you negotiate this new arrangement with your employer, you may want to make some of the following points:

  • Avoid the Brain Drain as baby boomers leave.
  • Better workforce planning If the organization knows when someone will be reducing their hours or changing responsibilities, HR will be better able to fill the skill gap in a timely way.
  • Smoother Knowledge Transfer Key knowledge can be transferred to those who will need it in a planned and structured way.
  • Help employees plan early and it will keep them more engaged and committed.
  • Fewer high earners on full time payroll lowers costs for the company

The way I see it, this should be part of the retirement picture in the years to come for many more organizations. We need to help them wake up to the benefits of phased retirement – for everyone.

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  1. Nice post. One of the big problems with Boomers, however, is that many of them form their identity based on their job. So, retiring means losing their identity as well as their job. I’m at the tail end of the Boomer generation, and when my time comes, I’m jumping into retirement with both feet. No phase-in for me, even if my employer offers such a program. When I got my first job at 16, I knew working was not for me. I’ve been looking forward to, and saving for, retirement ever since.

  2. My company offered a phased retirement and I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t ready to fully retire but I was feeling a little burned out after 30 years. The company offered a phased retirement over the next few years working 2-3 days a week continuing with the work I was performing and also training a few new people. It worked well for me.

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