Current retirement ages

In many OECD countries, rules differ across pension components. The normal retirement age (NRA) is the eligibility age to pensions without penalty in all schemes combined after a full career from age 22. Where retirement ages differ across schemes the maximum across schemes thus defines the NRA of the country.

Table 3.5 shows the rules for both normal and early retirement for mandatory pension schemes. In some schemes, a pension can be claimed earlier than the normal retirement age, from the “early” retirement age onwards, implying benefit penalties.

The early retirement age is the first age at which a pension can be claimed (Table 3.5). It is generally not possible to retire before the standard statutory age within residence-based basic pensions or for safety-net benefits.

Most DB and points schemes specify an early retirement age, commonly between two and five years below the normal statutory retirement age. Only in Austria (for women), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hungary (men), Türkiye and the United Kingdom do DB schemes currently not include an early-retirement option, with Costa Rica recently eliminating it for men (Chapter 1). Elsewhere, the future benefit is in general not only lower because of the reduced contribution period, but it also has a further reduction for each year that the pension is taken early. Belgium and Luxembourg do not apply a penalty.

In a few countries early-retirement ages depend on the length of past contributions. Early retirement age is based on having made a given number of years of contributions in Austria (40 years), Germany (35), Greece (40) and Luxembourg (40), while in Belgium, Estonia and Italy there are variable early retirement ages based on some variable numbers of years of contribution. For example, in Estonia, early retirement is possible one year early with 20 years of contribution, increasing to five years with 40 years of contribution.

It is possible to retire at a very early age in a few countries for individuals who started their full career from an early age, as shown in the “early start” column in Table 3.5. For example, retirement is possible without penalty at age 60 with 44 years of contributions in Belgium or at age 57 with 40 years of contributions in Luxembourg. Whilst there are penalties within the earnings-related schemes in the other countries listed in the “early start” column they do not apply for the early start cases, meaning there is no sustainability factor in Portugal if there are 46 years of contribution by age 60.

For the earnings-related schemes, there are a number of different rules that influence the pensionable age. For example, 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. In the Slovak Republic, this is only possible within two years of the statutory retirement age while no age conditions apply in the others.

The OECD defines the NRA in a given country as the age of eligibility of all schemes combined without penalty, based on a full career from age 22. Women in Chile, for example, are eligible for the FDC component at age 60 but they are not eligible to the targeted pension before age 65. The latter is therefore recorded as their NRA in 2022.

In 2022, the OECD average NRA was equal to 64.4 years for men and 63.6 years for women. It ranges from 49 for women and 52 for men in Türkiye to 67 in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and, for men only, Israel. The statutory retirement age in Italy is 67 but if the career length and retirement age combined sum to at least 102 years then retirement is possible without penalty, from age 64. Pension schemes in nine countries still have lower NRA for women (Figure 3.6). The largest gender difference of 5 years are in Austria, Colombia, Israel and Poland – the gap is also 5 years for the DC scheme in Chile but because women as men are only eligible to the targeted scheme at age 65 it is assumed that this difference does not translate in any gender gap for the NRA (Figure 3.6).

In most countries entry age has a limited impact on retirement age and, if career entry had been at age 20 rather than 22 for retirement in 2022, only six countries would have a different NRA (Figure 3.6). In Luxembourg and Slovenia as well as in Hungary for women, 40 years are needed for a full pension, hence the NRAs would all be 60. In Germany retirement is possible at 65 with 45 years of contributions which is possible with entry at age 20 but not at 22. In Portugal the retirement age is reduced by four months for every year of contribution beyond 40 years at age 60.

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