Indicator 20: Retirement age

Indicator 20: Existence of statutory retirement age
Indicator is fully reported? Yes.
Type of indicator Instrumental indicator Instrumental indicator
Other relevant indicators NA
Our findings

Information about the retirement age is published by the Department of Labour, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment at, and by the Ministry of Social Development at

There is no compulsory retirement age for employees except for:

  • certain non-New Zealand crews of ships and aircrafts;
  • certain work performed outside of New Zealand;
  • certain occupations, such as coroners and judges, where the retirement age is set in legislation;[1]
  • domestic employment in a private household; and  
  • where being a particular age or in a particular age group is a genuine occupational qualification for the employment.

The exceptions above will not apply if the employer can make adjustments to the workplace – that would not cause unreasonable disruption – to allow another employee to carry out the work that the older person cannot do.[2]

There is one other exception – if there is a written employment agreement between the employer and employee that was in force on 1 April 1992 and remains in force and, if the agreement specified a retirement age, and the employer and the employee agreed in writing on or after 1 April 1992 to confirm or change this retirement age, the employee must retire at that age. If there is no written confirmation on or after 1 April 1992, the employee cannot be made to leave because of their age.

How entities use the data The removal of a statutory retirement age enables older people to be employed beyond pensionable age. A person does not have to stop work to become eligible for New Zealand Superannuation.
Information about people seeking work or working is collected. It is used to produce statistics for general use and to target policy interventions, as needed.
Entity responsible for this indicator Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

[1] Coroners and judges must retire at age 70 (if they have not retired before this) under the Coroners Act 2006 and the Judicature Act 1908 respectively. Coroners can be reappointed for a term not exceeding 12 months.


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