Removing mandatory retirement age has many benefits

23.02.2022 - 16:20
Removing mandatory retirement age has many benefits
Many feel they are being forced to retire despite feeling fully capable of working
Everyone benefits from removing the mandatory retirement age, argues social sciences lecturer Súsanna Olsen (pictured)

Turning 70 isn’t what it used to be, and people are increasingly choosing to continue working after reaching this milestone.

Many say they feel fine both physically and mentally, but most public sector workers do not have this choice as they are required to retire when they reach this age.

However, Tórshavn City Council last week removed the mandatory retirement age for its employees – a decision which has proved popular with many workers.

 >> SEE ALSO Age should not determine retirement

“I love working with children, and I feel happy every morning when I go to work. My job adds a lot of substance to my life,” says Judith Eysturoy, 69, who works at the daycare centre in Velbastaður.

Súsanna Samuelsen, 69, says: “When I turned 67, I felt perfectly capable of continuing in my job here at the Láargarður retirement home, so I stayed on. I would like to stay here as long as I feel I can be of use.”

“I really enjoy my job and everything it involves,” says Johannus Johannesen, 69, who works as a janitor at Kollafjørður Skúli. “I’m surrounded by lots of lovely people every day, which is wonderful.”

 >> SEE ALSO Age discrimination law underway

The unemployment rate is currently at an all-time low. But what if this rate went up again?

“If lots of younger people were lining up to take my job, then I would happily retire,” says Eysturoy.

“There is a shortage of workers across all sectors, so I feel I’m doing something useful,” says Samuelsen. “And I know all the functions of my job, so there is no need for training as there might be for someone with no experience in this field.”

A win-win situation

Getting rid of the mandatory retirement age is a great benefit to everyone, says Súsanna Olsen, a social sciences lecturer at the University of the Faroe Islands.

“Many people see their work as an integral part of their identity, so I believe it’s only fair to let people work for as long as they can,” she says.

“We live in an information age, and many people reach their mental peak at around age 70. Keeping these people in the workforce is obviously a great boost to our society.

 >> SEE ALSO Faroes remain Europe’s most industrious nation

She adds that our physiological age is now much lower than what our birth certificates say. A few decades ago, we were worn out by the time we reached our late 60s. That is no longer the case.

Projections show that in 2080, there will be more than 6,000 people aged 80 and above.

“To keep the economy going, the retirement age simply has to increase because there will be fewer and fewer people in the younger age groups.”


Read the Faroese version of this article here.

More Faroese News in English.

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