Retirement Life
31 May 2022

What are your rights from 65?

Many people are choosing to continue to work past the age of 65. What are your rights, from an employment law point of view? And do the benefits of working during retirement generally outweigh the pitfalls?


While New Zealand does not have an official retirement age, most working adults aim for 65. After all, this is when NZ Superannuation is paid by the Government and superannuation plans tend to allow you access to your savings, such as KiwiSaver. However, as people live longer and healthier lives, many are choosing to delay retiring or semi-retire.

Why people work past 65?

Aside from the fact many people are still absolutely in their prime, and the thought of retiring at 65 is just not on the cards, there can be many other reasons people do not retiree at 65.

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Extra Money
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of working past the golden 65, is the extra income that can be earned. Working part-time or starting a small business can provide much-needed extra income, which can be used to cover expenses or pad your savings.

Social Interactions
Further to this retirement may be lonely, and working can provide much-needed social interaction. Whether you’re interacting with customers or co-workers, working can help you feel connected and engaged.

Purpose and Identity
Retirement can be a time of transition, and many people struggle with a loss of purpose. For many people their job is their identity, firefighter, teacher, lawyer. Continuing to add value in their fields whether by consulting or  mentoring.

The mental stimulation can also help you stay sharp and engaged.


Be careful not to miss out on the good times
If you’re working too much, you may not have time to enjoy your prime years. It can also interfere with your plans for travel or leisure activities. If you find yourself working more than you’d like, it may be time to reconsider your retirement plans.

Working after the age of 65? Here is what you need to know



  • You will no longer get the government paid tax rebate if you are still contributing to KiwiSaver.
  • While many still do, your employer is no longer obliged to contribute to your KiwiSaver.


  • Beware of Tax, if you continue to work and are receiving NZ Super you will need to have a secondary tax code. Head to IRD to find out more.

Age of Retirement

  • No employer should be forcing an employee to retire at 65 or at any age for that matter. But there are a few exceptions. 
  • If your employment agreement was created before 1 April 1992, you may have an age of retirement specified. This was a lawful provision in employment agreements, but it must have been agreed to in writing before 1 April 1992.
  • Also, there are some other rare exceptions to this, such as positions where being a particular age is a genuine occupational qualification for the employment, such as pilots of certain aircraft. Or where a retirement age is required under legislation, like judges or coroners, who have a clear age limit before forced retirement.
All minimum employment protections continue to apply to employees aged 65 and over,

says Anne Wilson, employment law Partner at Anthony Harper.

“The Human Rights Act 1993 protects employees from being forced to retire or being given less favourable terms and conditions than other employees, such as reduced hours or pay, based on their age. Employees who face this type of unjustified action can bring a discrimination claim or a personal grievance claim against their employer.

Employees who would like to continue working beyond 65 in a part-time or reduced capacity should discuss this with their employer and can make a formal ‘flexible working’ request under the Employment Relations Act 2000 seeking a change or reduction in working hours or location.”

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Written by:

Kathy Catton

Kathy Catton is a freelance writer and editor, based on the Banks Peninsula. She is an experienced feature writer, magazine editor and copywriter. Quick to grasp the crux of any story and tell it in plain English, Kathy enjoys bringing stories to readers that surprise and delight.

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