Current retirement ages

In many OECD countries, different rules apply to different components of the overall retirement-income package. The normal retirement age reflects the age of eligibility to all schemes combined without penalty after a full career from age 22. Therefore, where normal retirement ages differ across pension schemes the maximum across schemes defines the normal retirement age of the country.

Table 3.5 shows the rules for both normal and early retirement for mandatory pension schemes. “Normal” retirement is defined as receiving a full pension without penalties. In some schemes, a pension can be claimed earlier, from the “early” retirement age onwards, implying benefit penalties that adjust for the longer retirement spell. The indicated ages are theoretical, applying to a person entering the labour force at age 22 and working without interruption. Chapter 6 looks at effective ages of labour market exit and employment rates at older ages.

A very early pension withdrawal is often only possible in occupational pension plans, like in Australia, France and Sweden at age 55. The non-occupational public schemes in both Korea and Lithuania allow receiving benefits before age 60. In the FDC schemes of Chile, Colombia and Mexico and the DB scheme in the Slovak Republic, early retirement requires that the pension entitlements exceed a floor that is a proxy for the subsistence level. In the Slovak Republic, this is only possible within two years to the normal retirement age while no age condition apply in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

In general, most DB and points schemes specify an early retirement age next to the normal retirement age. Public DB or points schemes typically allow withdrawing a pension between two and five years earlier than the normal retirement age. In Greece and Luxembourg the early and normal retirement ages coincide for the case of an uninterrupted career from age 22.

Only in Austria (for women), Costa Rica, Hungary, Turkey and the United Kingdom do DB schemes currently not include an early retirement option. Basic pensions and targeted schemes often exclude such a possibility as well. Exceptions are found where the public pension consists of both a basic and a DB component, like in the Czech Republic and Japan.

For comparison across countries it is assumed that all pension pots within DC schemes are annuitised, even if this is not the case in practice. Then there is an automatic actuarial adjustment to the remaining life expectancy at the point of initial claim.

In many OECD countries, different normal retirement ages apply to different components of the overall retirement-income package. In particular, in those countries where targeted schemes have a higher eligibility age than the earnings-related scheme, the age of pension benefit withdrawal may in practice differ across earnings levels – individuals with high earnings-related pensions might afford to retire before having access to first-tier components. Pension schemes in 10 countries still specify normal retirement ages by gender setting a lower age for women than for men.

The OECD defines the normal retirement age in a given country as the age of eligibility of all schemes combined without penalty, based on a full career after labour market entry at age 22. Women in Chile, for example, are eligible for the defined contribution component at age 60 but they are not eligible to the targeted pension before age 65. The latter is therefore recorded as their normal retirement age in 2020 (Figure 3.6).

In 2020, the OECD average normal retirement age was equal to 64.2 years for men and 63.4 years for women. It ranges from 49 for women and 52 for men in Turkey to 67 in Iceland, Norway and, for men only, Israel. The statutory retirement age in Italy is 64 years 10 months but if the career length and retirement age combined sum to at least 100 then retirement is possible without penalty, at age 62 in 2020, which is therefore the 2020 normal retirement age; this condition is being removed from 2021 onwards. The largest gender difference of five years are in Austria, Colombia, Israel and Poland – the gap is also five years for the DC scheme in Chile but because women are only eligible to the targeted scheme at age 65, this difference is eliminated. In non-OECD G20 countries normal retirement ages tend to be lower, except for men in Argentina and Brazil at 65. Gender differences exist in half of those countries but not in India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa (Figure 3.6).

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