Managing an increasingly aging workforce is one of the key socioeconomic trends of our times and a crucial issue for many of the world's enterprises. Private practice lawyers across Latin America outline the laws in their respective countries concerning an older demographic in the workplace as well as a number of recent updates across the region.
According to a study by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the life expectancy of the Brazilian population increased 30.3 years between 1940 and 2016 while the birth rate declined 31% between 2000 and 2015. It is no wonder that the increase in the number of elderly people in Brazil has drawn the attention and efforts of the government to resume the debate and proposition to reform the country's social security programme. There is now a legislative bill pending approval by Congress, providing for, among other initiatives, an increase in the minimum age for retirement and the standardisation of rights and benefits including special pension rules for public servants.
The fact is that the public pension scheme scarcely provides enough to support the cost of living in big cities. Consequently, Brazilian workers often postpone their retirement. In Brazil, retirement, which is understood as the granting of the pension scheme, does not lead to the automatic termination of the employment agreement in effect and few employees apply for a termination of the contract (severance pay is also a disincentive). The attempt to extend the employment contract length in such cases is also because it is very difficult for senior workers to find new jobs and to re-enter the labour market as employees or self-employed. The Brazilian Federal Constitution and the law n. 10,741 provides for general protection and equal rights for the elderly, including protection against discrimination, however, there is no specific regulation or official guidelines on what this constitutes and it is up to the companies to have their own policies....