Flexible work schedules, older workers, and retirement

J Aging Soc Policy. 2000;12(1):19-34. doi: 10.1300/j031v12n01_03.


Older workers in the United States indicate that they would prefer flexible work arrangements rather than abrupt retirement, yet management has done very little to make this possible. A review of two bodies of literature from the late 1980s is presented: social science writings including sociological, gerontological, and economic literature, and business and management literature. There is a clash between the way jobs are traditionally scheduled and the needs of growing numbers of older workers. Workers continue to be subject to obstacles to phased retirement due to the structuring of health care and pension benefits, downsizing, organizational inflexibility, and "corporate culture." Thus, general views among social scientists regarding the desirability of flexible schedules toward retirement will not produce real changes unless management becomes committed to such changes and they are securely embedded in company policies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Retirement*
  • Social Planning*
  • United States