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Morneau Shepell survey finds phased retirement programs slow to gain traction

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Pension/Retirement / Canada

Morneau Shepell survey finds phased retirement programs slow to gain traction

Employers not fully embracing opportunities to help employees transition to retirement

TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - Results from Morneau Shepell's 60-Second Survey for October 2015 indicate that comprehensive programs designed to assist employees in the transition to retirement have yet to take a firm hold in Canadian workplaces. These programs address both the financial and psychological aspects of leaving the workforce to begin retirement. The survey received responses from 62 employers across Canada.

Employers were asked if they made reduced hours an option for employees who are nearing retirement age to help them make a gradual shift out of the workforce. Only six per cent of respondents indicated that they do so. Ten per cent responded that reduced work hours are offered to some classes of near-retirement employees. A little over half of employers (53 per cent) took a more passive approach, stating that reduced work hours are not formally offered but that individual requests are considered. Approximately 31 per cent of the respondents do not offer reduced work hours, except perhaps in rare circumstances.

When asked about retirement planning programs geared to employees within five to 10 years of retirement, employers responded as follows, with some offering more than one type of program:

  • 55 per cent provide information on an internal or service provider's website or other tools;
  • 48 per cent of the respondents offer group financial planning or education sessions;
  • 19 per cent make individual retirement planning and education sessions available;
  • 11 per cent deliver group sessions to assist employees with the psychological transition to retirement; and,
  • 27 per cent do not offer any retirement planning programs.

Where the employer provided a retirement program (defined benefit pension plan, defined contribution pension plan, etc.), the results did not differ significantly according to the type of retirement program sponsored or the size of the organization.

"It's encouraging to see that half of the respondents are providing information and/or education sessions," stated Nigel Branker, Partner, Morneau Shepell. "As the assets in defined contribution and other savings plans grow, it will become increasingly important for employers to encourage their employees to become actively engaged in preparing for retirement. However, taking a more comprehensive approach to 'off-boarding' – helping employees transition to retirement – can reap additional benefits. A gradual, supportive withdrawal from the workforce enables better succession planning for the employer, and can increase the near-retirement employee's productivity and job satisfaction, as well as boost the that worker's odds of  a successful retirement."

About the 60-Second Survey

For more than 10 years, the results of Morneau Shepell's web-based "60-Second Surveys" have provided insights into the opinions of Canadian pension and benefits plan sponsors on high profile issues.

About Morneau Shepell Inc.

Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrative approach to employee assistance, health, benefits and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With almost 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

SOURCE Morneau Shepell - Pension/Retirement

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Kaiser Lachance Communications, 647.725.2520 x207,