Age Regulations and Qualifications Governing Superannuation and Social Security Systems

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The removal of the compulsory retirement age and the viability of employing people between the ages of 65 and 80. There is no statutory retirement age in Australia. The retirement incomes system (our superannuation system) permits a possible span of retirement starting between the ages of 55 to 70 years during which retirement savings can continue to accumulate or retirement income can be accessed. People who work beyond 70 are no longer entitled to the 9% superannuation levy imposed on employers, and people must begin to 'draw down' (spend their savings) from their superannuation before age 70.  However, our superannuation system is in a transition phase, and some the details of the changes are contained in the table below:

Age regulations and qualifications governing superannuation and social security systems
Age to which superannuation entitlements are compulsorily preserved. From age 55, preserved superannuation becomes available upon retirement. For people aged 55 to 60 years, Regulations under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS regulations) define retirement as permanent withdrawal from the workforce. A phased increase in the superannuation preservation age to 60 is to begin in 2015 and will affect people born after 30 June 1960. By 2025, people born after June 1964 will be subject to a preservation age of 60 years.| |

People aged 55 years and over can access a range of social security pensions and benefits depending on their circumstances, e.g. Disability Support Pension, Newstart Allowance, Carer Pension and Widow Allowance. From September 1997, superannuation assets of those aged 55 and over were taken into account under the income and assets tests after 9 months on income support (pending legislation).|

Under SIS Regulations, after age 60, retirement may be taken to have occurred upon cessation of a period of gainful employment even if the person intends to re-enter gainful employment. Current qualifying age for Mature Age Allowance.|

Women's current qualifying age for age pension. The age pension age for women is being slowly increased to 65 over the next 17 years (reaching 65 years in July 2013).|
Men's qualifying age for age pension.|

From 1 July 1997 people were allowed to continue to contribute to a regulated superannuation fund up to age 70, provided they are gainfully employed for at least 10 hours per week over the year.|

Most people retire at 55 years or over. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average age Australians intend to retire is 63 for men and 61 for women. Compulsory retirement at 65 was made unlawful in South Australia in 1993. It is against the law to dismiss staff because of their age unless there is an occupational reason to be a certain age. Most staff can't be forced to retire because of age except:

* judges and magistrates must retire at 70
* Australian Defence Force personnel must retire at 65.
The average retirement age is likely to increase as we have an ageing population. More workers will move into retirement age and fewer will enter the labour market. As a result, there will be a shortage of workers. Governments and many employers are already trying to encourage workers to stay on longer by offering assistance to older staff and options like phased retirement. You can retain your staff past retirement age by offering phased retirement or flexible working conditions.

The likelihood of being retired increased with age. For those aged 45-49 years, just 5% were retired, compared to 16% of 55-59 year olds, 68% of 65-69 year olds and 87% of those aged 70 years and over.

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