Retirement isn’t what it used to be! The days when workers were offered a golden handshake in their sixties, able to look forward to a long succession of lie-ins, time to pursue their hobbies, potter around in the garden and see parts of the world that they’d always longed to visit, are long gone. The trend for early retirement that grew up in the 1980s is also now the preserve of the lucky few who enjoy super-salaries. For the rest of us, retirement is something to be avoided for as long as possible.
A certain realism has crept into many governments’ policies in recent years and this is definitely true of Spain’s new administration. Fátima Báñez, the recently-appointed Minister for Employment and Social Security, has announced plans to reduce the number of early retirements still further, unless the cases are exceptional.
Despite the current economic situation a surprising number of Spaniards still choose to stop working before the age of 65. Official figures show that the national average age of retirement in Spain is now 62.8 years.
The current situation allows workers who are over 60 to take ‘partial retirement’, providing that they have been with the company for more than six years. Additionally, anyone over 65 can receive their pension and continue to work in exchange for a working day reduction of anywhere between 25 to 75 per cent.
Sra. Báñez also stated that the government was studying plans to make pensions more proportional to the amount paid into Social Security by the individual during his or her working life.
What is perhaps most encouraging about these new plans is the creation of a process of work reformation that will increase the level of workplace flexibility. The minister hopes that this will make dismissing any employee more a last resort.
Other key initiatives include creating a training account, guaranteeing workers the right to further learning while at work, changes to bonus policies (currently a particular bugbear for the British government) and better hours.
With pensioners able to claim part of their pension entitlement and still work, there is hope for an older generation of employees who would prefer to continue in their jobs while they still have the desire and ability to perform a useful function in society.