The retirement age change has become official on 1 April, but Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton announced that some managements are using the previous age of retirement policy to get people out of jobs.
A new law was passed in the House of Assembly in 2016 to increase the retirement age from 60 to 65. However, Hon. Skelton explained during the NDP radio program on 3 April that some civil servants were still made to leave their jobs despite the stipulation, and as Minister he said that he is looking into the matter.
“I am dealing with a couple of cases right now concerning the retirement age which we have moved from 60 to 65. And especially in the civil service, people are still basically asking 60-year-old employees to retire and send them letters. I don’t know where they are getting this instruction from, but it’s happening, and we have to address the situation,” Hon. Skelton said.
During the debate of the legislation in the House of Assembly back in October, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering announced: “Nobody is going to be forced to retire because of age, but the employer has the option to say that ‘I will retire you at 65 because of what the legislation says’. We are going to ensure that we get it right; that nobody is going to be forced to retire at a particular age, but that at age 65 the retirement can happen.”
The Minister also explained that the legislation has bearing on all employees in the Territory not only civil servants: “What is important to understand – and especially those who are in the public service – is that this piece of legislation is not specific for public servants. What we have also discovered is that, in other professions in the BVI, people are being forced to retire at age 60 because it is the custom in Government,” Hon. Pickering noted.
“In a number of professions, persons who are age 60 are not even at the top of their game yet and they are being forced to retire. So this [legislative amendment]is not specific for the public service,” the Labour Minister explained.