Myths and Challenges

Outmoded assumptions, persistent myths and seeming challenges discourage many, if not most, employers from considering flexible and phased retirement. The first step in overcoming inertia is surfacing these unspoken barriers and addressing them.

Fear of discrimination

Leaders and many managers worry that creating different exit options may lead to dissatisfaction and, potentially, lawsuits. Age discrimination suits are seen as particularly dangerous.

Benefit barriers

Many companies believe pension restrictions and other complexities cannot be overcome, despite the fact that the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans reduces the challenges.

Part-time = reduced value

A common belief exists across employers that reduced schedules mean a net loss in contribution, especially as employees age and are perceived to be less productive and more expensive.

Manager overload

The assumption exists that many managers lack the skill and judgment to make fair eligibility decisions and manage arrangements once approved.

Fragile knowledge sharing

The potential transfer of unique knowledge from older workers to databases and mentees is an attractive goal, but the absence of successful models makes it seem unattainable.

Employee hesitation

When a company has little or no policy or practice of flexible work or gradual retirement, employees are reluctant to propose and persist in requesting choices.