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Bert274, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 649
Experience:  BProc, LLB and MBA
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I am 66 yrs old have worked for the same company for 26 years

Customer Question

I am 66 yrs old have worked for the same company for 26 years they have now informed me verbally that I must retire on February 28 2013. Firstly can they just give me notice verbally or do they have to give a letter before it is legal. Secondary can I apply for UIF payments. Thanks XXX X X XXXXXXXXXXX

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  JB-Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

In order to assist you it would be helpful to know, in what country do you work?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i work in woodmead south africa
Expert:  JB-Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for that clarification. I will opt out of this question and ask the moderators to re-categorize it to South Africa law. Please do not reply at this time so there is no delay in having another expert assist you.
Expert:  Bert274 replied 3 years ago.

Dear Client

Thank you for using just answer.

everyone needs to stop working. Some people prefer to retire at an early age
while others choose to work for as long as possible. Whatever your preference,
you need to know what your rights and options are.


The labour legislation does not
deal directly with the issue of retirement age. However, it does say that no
one may be unfairly discriminated against because of their age. This means that
the employer and employee must agree on a retirement age.

There are three possible
situations that you could find yourself in:

  • Your employment
    contract requires you to retire at a certain age.

  • You have agreed with
    you employer on a retirement age or there is a company norm.

  • There is no mention
    of retirement in your contract and there is no agreement.

If you sign an employment contract
that stipulates a retirement age, then you can legally be required to retire at
that age. The organisation won't be required to give you notice.

If the retirement age is not in
the contract but is agreed or if there is an organisational norm, then the
employer can give you notice requiring you to retire at that age. The notice
period will be the same as the notice period for termination of employment set
out in your contract of employment.

When would there be deemed to bean organisational norm? There is a general understanding that the "normal" retirement age is 55, 60 or 65 but this understanding is too vague to be useful in specific instances. Indications of the organisation'snorm can be found in:

  • the rules of acompany's provident or pension fund (but this is not definitive)
  • company policy.

If there is no mention of a retirement age in your contract and there is no organisational norm, then you can continue to work until you are unable to do your job properly. Your employer can only terminate your contract in accordance with the labour legislation (that is for misconduct, operational requirements or incompetence)
and will have to follow the procedures set out in your contract and labour law.
The courts have found that it is unfair discrimination for your employer to terminate your employment services just because of your age.

Meaning if no contract or norm you have to be retrenched and their for it starts with a letter.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX . Logically if you think about it early retirement - it is your own benefit you are creating whereas UIF is there to support people who are fired, maternity leave, contracts ended and if employees are bankrupt.

If you retire because of age - you can claim from the pension fund.

I trust the answer is helpfulle. Please remember to rate the answer as positive.