Concepts of retirement and related moral arguments play an important role in debates around pension reform. What retirement is - or should be - varies according to the surrounding welfare culture and an actor’s general interests and beliefs.
In this paper, we study the meaning that specific collective actors in Germany and the UK attribute to retirement, and their evaluation of post-retirement work, which is an exception to 'normal' retirement. For this purpose, we examine interviews with experts from unions, employer federations and relevant non-profit organisations which have been conducted in the context of a wider comparative project. Additionally, we draw on policy documents by the same actors. Our analysis of the interviews and the documents reveals similar retirement concepts among the same kinds of actors across countries: trade unions and at least some non-profit organisations advocate retirement as a social right and as a distinct (ideally work-free) phase of life. In contrast, employers have a less substantial concept of retirement. At the same time, when morally justifying what retirement should be in their view, the actors refer to ideas that establish a connection to the specific welfare culture surrounding them.
Download: ZeS Working Paper 04/2014