Note: Is Retirement Age a Moving Target? A Review of Recent Jurisprudence

Authors Marius van Staden & Michele van Eck

ISSN: 2413-9874
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Public Law, University of Johannesburg; Senior Lecturer, Department of Private Law, University of Johannesburg
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 42 Issue 4, 2021, p. 2099 – 2115


A practice that is becoming commonplace is for employers to reserve the right to change the date of retirement. The note examines contractual and legislative mechanisms for changing an employee’s retirement age and three recent LAC cases in which the employer has done so. Individual contracts may include a reference to a staff handbook and may allow the employer to change employees’ retirement age contained in the handbook. This amendment may be made without obtaining the employee’s consent because the common law recognises that an employer has the right to make changes in these contexts as long as this discretion is exercised reasonably.