Retirement on reaching a certain age has long been taken for granted. Moreover, older persons have as a matter of course, been regarded as lesser employees. Demographic trends during the last two to three decades have changed the scene entirely. People live longer and there is a general decline in the birth rate. Hence many countries are re-arranging the deck chairs by increasing the age of retirement, to make it possible to utilise the services of older persons, and by legislating to outlaw discrimination on the ground of old age. This article deals with these new developments, focusing on South African legislation that still discriminates without regard to demographic, social and economic consequences.
Part of the research for this article was undertaken at the Ludwig Universitat in Munich.