Nathalie Burnay, Jim Ogg, Clary Krekula, Patricia Vendramin

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In recent years, policies that extend the working life have been a key feature of European and other countries with post-industrialised economies. These policies focus on two dimensions of work and retirement which governments consider crucial to reform if pension systems are to be safeguarded in the context of ageing populations. First, legal and administrative reforms are pushing back the legal age of retirement thereby withholding pension rights until workers have reached a certain age. Second, defined benefit pensions, so-called because employees and employers know the formula for calculating retirement benefits in advance of paying them, are being phased out and replaced by defined contribution pensions, where the level of contributions, and not the final benefit, is pre-defined and no final pension promise is made. This shift results in the individualisation of pension benefits, since in most cases workers must build up sufficient contributions and invest in pension products on financial markets. The effect of this trend is that workers remain in the labour force longer in order to secure an acceptable pension benefit. Overall, the implementation of these two policies to extend the working life has produced the desired effect of retaining individuals longer in the labour market and easing the pressure on public pensions, as can be seen in data produced by Eurostat since the 1990s: the proportion of people aged 55 years or more in the total number of persons employed in the EU-27 increased from 12% to 20% between 2004 and 2019 (Eurostat, 2021).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife Course Research and Social Policies
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameLife Course Research and Social Policies
ISSN (Print)2211-7776
ISSN (Electronic)2211-7784


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