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November 11, 2004

Employer bound by retirement age in contract

The Labour Appeal Court recently heard a case concerning the issue of retirement age. The questions that arose, reports the Daily Dispatch, were whether an employee can be compelled to retire and, if so, what age is regarded as the retirement age. South African law provides that it is unfair to dismiss an employee based on age unless he or she has reached the normal or agreed retirement age for a person employed in that capacity. The retirement age may have been agreed in the employment contract and then the employee can be required to retire when the specified age is reached. But if the age has not been agreed to, then the employer cannot simply fix the age for retirement for existing employees. Trying to do so would be a unilateral change to terms and conditions of employment, which would have no effect in law.
Full report in the Daily Dispatch


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