Retirement planning/succession

I realize that we cannot legally discriminate against older, aging employees and that is not my intent. However, I would like to hear some ideas of what the rest of you are doing when it comes to employees who have a long employment history with not a lot of value to offer to the employer, and with no plans of retirement whether it be for the need of insurance benefits or just needing something to do.
I don't believe there is much we can do in regards to benefits, even if they are covered by Medicare or eligible for Medicare.
Is there any incentives we can offer in regards to insurance that is legal? Is it ok to begin taking away duties, for efficiency reasons or a need for change?
Surely, most of you are dealing with this same issue?? I am up for any ideas you can throw my way regarding this matter.


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • If you have a legitimate business reason to make changes, then age doesn't matter. As long as you are clear and truthful about your changes, people will generally accept the changes. If you are not forthcoming, or don't appear honest, people will draw their own conclusions and you can expect to get sued.

    If employee morale is a factor, you might consider offering an early retirement package. You will have to be careful how you do it as you might have the ones you want to keep take it and the ones you wanted gone stay anyway.

    We have an employee who we expected to retire this year. Our plan was not to replace the employee, but have her duties absorbed by others. Due to certain circumstances in her family, she decided to stay awhile. We are not pushing her out because 1) she is a good long term loyal employee, 2) though we expect her duties to decrease over time, they are not so reduced at this point that we can't justify having her here, and 3) 80% of our employees are over 50 and we don't want to give a poor impression resulting in others leaving. Still, there may come a time when we have to consider that her duties do not warrant her being here. Also, our business needs are changing rapidly and she is having trouble keeping up with the technology. We will revisit the issue periodically and make decisions based on duties and value. We are hoping she will retire before it comes to that.

    One final thing: sometimes employees get into a rut and it shows in their work. You might consider making some changes and talk about improved output. This kind of thing often stimulates all your employees to make suggestions and come up with ideas that can really improve your processes and output.

    Good luck!
  • Thank you for your reply. You have given me some good information and some things to think about. I appreciate your thoughts!
  • Agree with Nae. We offered a voluntary incentive separation program. The incentive was three years of health insurance or the equivalent cash. It was pretty well received. Just make sure you don't pick and choose who you offer it to and speak to an attorney before you go that route.
  • Does the insurance have to continue to cover eligible spouse and dependents or can it be subject to just the employee?
  • You can design the program however you want that is legal. We covered employee only. Folks who were 62 loved it as it got them to Medicare. We are public sector and offered it to the class of employees who were at, or within one year of their normal retirement date as defined by our pension plans.
  • Good to know, Sonny. This information gives me some ideas and confirmation of what I can offer legally. Thanks so much for sharing your information.
  • Don't forget there are a lot of rules related to these programs so be sure to research and talk to an attorney. Good luck
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