Considerations for Managing an Aging Workforce

The expected age of retirement continues to increase, sometimes by choice, often by necessity, perhaps due to family obligations, personal debt, or the high cost of healthcare, just to name a few reasons. When dealing with an aging workforce, employers presented with challenging situations stemming from employees’ cognitive and/or physical decline should be mindful of the potential legal risks and take appropriate precautions. Among the considerations:

  • Monitor the workplace for age and disability discrimination or harassment.
  • Never assume that an employee is disabled.
  • Engage in the interactive reasonable accommodations process.
  • Outline options for disabled employees who refuse to acknowledge the effect of their health on the performance of their job.
  • Encourage employees to take advantage of available paid leave benefits as well as statutory benefits.
  • Consider offering employees supplemental insurance benefits.
  • Facilitate access to early retirement benefits when applicable.
  • Provide employees with information about social security disability benefits.
  • Continue medical insurance coverage for disabled employees when appropriate.
  • Consider non-employment solutions (such as emotional support from family or community groups) to assist your employee’s transition to retirement.

For further discussion, read the memo by ES&A Director Trisha Gibo.