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Phased retirement and flexible working arrangements

Instead of retiring from work completely, you may want a phased retirement or flexible working arrangements with your employer.  This could involve:

  • reducing your number of hours and/or working days
  • job-sharing
  • changing your position and responsibilities to a less stressful or labour intensive job
  • taking on a training or mentoring role
  • "retiring" as an employee but working as a consultant
  • continuing to work full-time with additional purchased leave entitlements and other flexible working arrangements.

If you have reached your preservation age (check the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website), you can also draw some income from your superannuation while still working.

The benefits for you of phased retirement or flexible arrangements include:

  • ongoing income for financial security, holidays and retirement
  • staying connected with work friends and colleagues
  • maintaining self-esteem and social status, and having a sense of purpose
  • being mentally and physically active.

The benefits for your employers include:

  • retaining your knowledge and skills for longer
  • maintaining diversity of skills and experience in the workplace
  • having staff who understand the needs of mature age customers
  • training and mentoring younger workers.

Phased retirement is generally an individual arrangement between you and your employer.  To ensure that phased retirement arrangements work well, your employer should:

  • foster a culture that enables mature workers to reduce hours or withdraw from former duties with dignity and respect
  • implement open and fair flexible working arrangements and phased retirement policies and procedures that are consistent with equal opportunity requirements.

You should also consider if:

  • the arrangement meets the requirements of the relevant award, agreement or employment contract
  • there is any impact on superannuation - superannuation funds, financial advisers and the Australian Taxation Office can advise.
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