Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Psdhingra
Legal Analyst, Hrm
Kishorkulkarni
Law Practice
Radha2016
Business Change Consultant Practising In
SAIBHAKTA
Retired From Air India
Mnj.tiwari
Service
+4 Others

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Dear Seniors
I would required your advice on the subject mentioned.
We want to keep our employees after 58 years of age also, but after age of 58 years there are few benefits which they will not get.
So we would like to know that Do's & Dont's of the same.
Regards
Amit Acharya
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Dear Amit,
Of course there is legal minimum age limit for employment but no maximum limit. There is no legal compulsion for fixing the age of superannuation at 58. In fact it is a matter left to the discretion of the employer and the employed depending on the nature of job, policy of the establishment, prevailing industry-cum-social practice etc. There are countries like the U.S.A and corporate companies like Sony where no age of retirement is fixed for employees other than the C.E.Os subject to their physical fitness beyond certain age and performance. After 58 years you can not continue the employees in the EPF Scheme. But it does not mean that you can not continue them in employment. Alternatively, you can extend their services beyond the age fixed for retirement and increase their salary proportionately. In the case of higher jobs, such people can be taken back as consultants on retainer basis..
Dear Amit,

This is in addition to what Mr Umakanthan has said.

Employment after 58 years depends on the senior employee's physical fitness. More than physical fitness it is because of the expertise that they have acquired in particular field over a period of time. Getting similar person of his/her stature is not so easy. Hence the continuation their employment. The outcome is win-win for both, employer and employee. Therefore, foregoing of few statutory benefits should not be that big cause of worry.

Now coming to the opposite side of the above viewpoint. Why things come to such a pass where you needed to employ a person even after 58 years? Is this not failure of the organisation to groom his successor? Attainment of 58 years of age was a certainty. Management science teaches us to handle unpredictability or uncertainty. Here in your case, why your organisation could not handle even certainty?

Let us not forget that when person none less that Mr NR Narayan Murthy had rejoined Infosys in 2013, there was all-round criticism for Infosys's failure to groom a successor. Media criticised Infosys for not generating a single leader from within though Infosys has world-class Leadership Development Institute in Mysore.

In many organisations there are "Formal Mentoring Programmes" wherein seniors become mentor of the juniors and groom them for higher position. There is a concept of succession planning also. However, generally succession planning is used at the top-most level of the management i.e. grooming of the board member. For employees, it is mentoring programme.

Lastly, I need to give feedback to you on the heading of your post. Employees are "employed" and not "Kept". Therefore, heading of your post should have read "Advice on Employment of Senior Employee after 58 years".

Disclaimer: - Heading of your post asks for advice. Advices do not come standalone all the time. Occasionally these are bundled with criticism. This has been happening since time immemorial. Therefore, no complaints would be accepted for critical evaluation of the incident.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar


Hi
With no disrespect to any comments posted here, I personally don't think age should be a limiting factor to employment. As long as the person is capable of doing his work and the organisation is willing to employ him, the organisation should continue to do so. Some of these employees will have a wealth of knowledge which will be valuable to the organisation. Furthermore, when the employee has dedicated until his 58th year to the organisation, I feel it is a bit harsh to not continue his employment only because he has reached a certain age. In countries outside India this is a Human rights violation under 'Age discrimination'. Time flies. All of us will also reach 58 some year or the other. If we want to continue working and the organisation shows us the door only because we are 58 how would we like it - especially if we are more capable of doing our role than some of the others in the organisation?
Thanks
Radha
Dear Radha,

Your comments appear to be out of context. The querist has raised query on the cessation of statutory benefits after 58 years. I have written in my previous reply that if a person is allowed to work after 58 years, then he will lose Provident Fund (PF) benefit. This is as per EPF Act, 1952 hence employers do not have control over it.

More than discrimination, the case is about dependence on persons. When a person works in particular function like HR, Finance, Purchase etc, he/she is bound to possess wealth of knowledge. Nevertheless, this wealth remains with that person. Why organisation was not proactive in transferring this wealth to some another person? Monetary wealth, if concentrated at few hands, stagnates that is why principles of economics teach us. Likewise, it can be concluded that knowledge rots if concentrated in few heads.

Knowledge Management: - The very theory of knowledge management has taken birth to reduce the dependence on few people. This dependence arises when organisation fails to convert tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. It is well proven how organisations pay hefty price for depending on the persons, whether they are young or old!

Organisation's culture: - Occasionally there is downside of employing persons who continue to work well past their retirement age. They fail to connect with the younger generation. Let us not forget that about 35% of India's population is below 30 years to age. Their failure to sync with a generation below creates a problem on the culture of the organisation. For a while, suppose this is also not a problem. The one more problem is their dogmatic views, lack of technical savviness in day to day life etc. Sometimes these people profess and that too with pride how they are not technically savvy. Suppose this also is not a problem but then the last problem arises when these old people start brandishing their length of service to silence the voice of the juniors. I know a Managing Director (MD) of public limited company who is surrounded by persons who are with him for the last 25-30 years. Their prolonged association with MD is hampering organisation's growth because many times these codgers use their long association with the MD as a weapon to scare newcomers!

If we allow the old people to continue to work, then when will young generation will get chance to work? Retirement age of 58 or 60 years is a threshold that is used world over and there is nothing new about it. However, that does not mean that we should consider someone's 58th year birthday as expiry date. Their services can very well be used as consultant.

My personal experience: - If 1947 is major cut-off point in the history of India then second cut-off point could be 1991. In this year the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao launched economic reforms. The real effects of reforms were observed after 15 years. However, I had chance to work under one Vice President (VP) who even after 15 years of the economic reforms also, behaved as if erstwhile socialist era still continued. Economic reforms had redefined the job market. He did not have even inch of knowledge of these changes and neither he bothered to acquire it. Notwithstanding his few good qualities, he became the cause of employee attrition. It took couple of years for management to understand the cause of employee attrition.

Final comments: - Excessive dependence on few persons will always have negative repercussions. Our magnates are known to keep themselves surrounded by persons of their caste, or relatives. Little do they realise that this inhibits their growth. In contrast, our current Prime Minister has taken a tough stand and did not include anyone in his council of ministers who are above 80. For this, he has invited wrath from the oldies from his party and occasionally they rant against him. Nevertheless, this is a major shift in political era. Look at the other political parties. We had Chief Ministerial aspirants who were about to become 80 or 90! Few of them were fragile, in-feeble and wheel-chair bound also but lure of power so strong that hardly they bothered about their physical infirmities. Retirement is a new era in everyone's life. It has to begin some time! One cannot scream for discrimination when told to retire after 58 or 60 years.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar
I not only endorse but also appreciate views of Shri Dinesh Divekar. However, in place substitution of the terms, "keep" or "employment" the term should be re-employment of a person after superannuation.
Dear Radha,

There is nothing wrong in re-employment of any retired person by virtue of his talent. But, in most cases only touts or sycophants or back-biters, NOT good workers, are tried to be be retained even after their superannuation for the purpose of support to upper management against other employees. But the employees of real worth never try to be retained further, as they know that they can be successful wherever they go after leaving the organisation. Even in my case, I was offered continuous extention of 2 years on my superannuation by an honest chief engineer, but I principly thought that wrong and unethical to become hurdle in promotion of someone else deserving to hold the post. So, I politely rejected his offer, saying that I would prefer to become a free flier bird, not a captive employee.

However, if the management thinks, the services of some retired employee is important for the organization to keep him by retention of his service on re-employment, the management can hire his services as consultant for some specific period, not for work, but to train other employees, so that the management may not feel the dearth of talent at any point of time in future.

Moreover, re-employment of the superannuated employees tends to escalate unemployment and also denial of opportunity to the youth, who can also prove assets to the company depending upon variety of merits from individual to individual.
Dear Dinesh,

Yours is a very good detailed mail. I have noted the point on EPF Act which is informative.

When it comes to dependence - it really depends on the role the person is playing. As you rightly say if it is HR, Finance, Purchase etc. we can get that knowledge transferred. However if it is in some other highly skilled areas, it may not be that easy to transfer - especially when dealing with some crisis. We should however actively recruit freshers and train them to support and eventually replace other roles; where possible.

Regarding synchronising between generations, I think it best works when they all work harmoniously together rather than separate them. Separating age groups may not really solve the problems. I am however unsure of the lack of technical savviness point you are making. It seems to be more about the individuals concerned rather than all the people over 50yrs. All 5 fingers in our hand are different.

Except for some countries, there is no statutory retirement age for 'working'. The statutory age only applies to drawing out the benefits.

On the point of being surounded by relatives - I think that is more of a 'conflict of interest' and several organisations have strict policies not to encourage the same.

While some may not agree, I still believe that a person should move on if he is not capable of performing the role rather than reaching a certain age.

Thanks

Radha
Dear PS Dhingra,
Nice to know that you agree re-employment of talented persons. I am not sure why someone would want to have unprofessional people in the organisatoin; but I am sure you have come across this situation and hence you have posted here. It is really unfortunate if hte management support this culture.
Good employees do not need to cling on to the position - but if they want to and the organisation also wants to keep them - then I don't believe it is unethical; as the same rule goes to new comers as well. If they are good they can also find any place to work. Well you did a noble act by moving on giving room to other employees.
Thanks,
Radha
Dear Amit,
In addition to what two learned members of our forum have said I feel there is nothing wrong in retaining employees over 58yrs age if they are medically fit and willing.In fact life's expectancy has increased by several years since independence but many organisations ,including central/state PSUs , are still adhering to the 'British Raj'age of retirement of 58yrs.Secondly, in companies where such people are employed it is normally done on contractual basis and contract is renewed eyery one/two/three years depending on the organisation's need and employee's performance.
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