Labour Laws in India on Age of Retirement

The issue of retirement age of a workman working in a manufacturing unit is covered under employment laws in India. The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 has a Central Schedule, Schedule I-B wherein retirement age is stated as 58 years.

In case of establishments which are not governed by Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, the age of retirement is decided by service conditions such as settlement/appointment letters/employment agreements. However, if the retirement age is not determined in such establishments, the worker can claim that since age of retirement is not decided by the law as well as by service conditions he can work till the time he is physically fit and able to work.

However, by and large the Courts have held that the age of retirement should be 60. In G.M. Talang and Ors. V/s Shaw Wallace and Co. and Anr., as decided on 24.03.1964 the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in making its decision in the above matter, relied upon the Report of the Norms Committee in which the following opinion was expressed-

“After taking into consideration the views of the earlier Committees and Commissions including those of the Second Pay Commission the report of which has been released recently, we feel that the retirement age for workmen in all industries should be fixed at 60. Accordingly, the norm for retirement age is fixed at 60”.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that, “It is important to notice that the correctness of the Tribunal’s finding that in all the awards in recent times in the Bombay region the trend had been to fix the retirement age at 60 years, was not challenged before this Court.”

Therefore, in coming to its decision that the age of retirement of workmen should be fixed at not less than 60, the Supreme Court relied on the Reports of the Norms Committee which formed its decision taking into consideration earlier committees and commissions.

The above judgement was upheld in Tej Bahadur Ram V/s State of U.P. and Ors, arising from SLP(C)No.18692/2005

However, whenever Standing Orders are applicable, the employer can approach the Certifying Officer to fix the age of retirement for the establishment.

In case of employees who are not workmen, the age of retirement is decided by the service rules determined by the Company and accepted by the Company. In case of managerial cadre or executives, the age of retirement is determined by the contract of employment/employment agreement.