Peter McCabe / The Toronto Star
Ginette Jobin is easing into retirement, working comfortably for BMO from her home in La Prairie on the south shore of Montreal a few days a week.
Most people would like to gradually reduce their working hours rather than stop completely when they retire, according to a survey conducted for Desjardins Financial Security. But people with a higher income and more savings would rather have longer holidays than cut back on their work.
Phased retirement is seen as a great alternative because people enjoy working and want to stay active. What’s more, they want to increase their savings so in their early years of retirement they can better afford to travel, spend time with family and pursue their hobbies.
People who own or are a partner in their company are more likely to plan gradual retirement (66 per cent) compared to those who work for a company (75 per cent).
However, several companies on the 2012 list of Top Companies for Canadians over 40 including the Business Development Bank of Canada, Ellis Don Corporation and the Bank of Montreal offer flexible work options for older workers.
For example, long-term BMO employee Ginette Jobin is currently benefitting from a phased retirement arrangement. After 34 years in human resource roles for the bank, she is now working from her home on the south shore of Montreal three days a week.
The arrangement is ideal for Jobin. She is an avid gardener and now has the time to spend a full day a week with her 78-year old mother. She also doesn’t miss commuting 45 minutes each way to work.
“If you asked me last year when I was going to fully retire I would have probably said 55, but with this new work balance I feel like I could go on indefinitely. I no longer have a fixed retirement date in mind,” she says.
Allowing employees to transition into retirement is one component of BMO’s openness to flexible working arrangements for employees at all ages and stages of their career. Employees make a case to their managers and the decision is made locally, on the understanding employees may be asked to shift to another role or a different department.
Jobin could not have continued as senior HR Partner for the bank’s Quebec division three days a week, but was open to tackle anything else.
How does BMO make phased retirement and other flexible arrangements work? Lynn Roger senior vice president of talent management says an ongoing discussion between the individual and the manager is essential so that the needs of the bank and the employee can be met.
Sheryl Smolkin is a Toronto lawyer and writer. Contact her through her website and follow her on Twitter @SherylSmol