The Government of the British Virgin Islands has recently enacted legislation setting a minimum compulsory retirement age for employment law purposes, subject to certain exceptions. This is the first such measure in the Territory's history.

The Virgin Islands Retirement Age Act 2016 prohibits employers from retiring on the ground of age any employee who is below 65 years of age. If a pre-existing employment contract or collective agreement allows employers to do so, it is void to that extent.

The above is subject to the following transitional measures:  

  • Employees who reach 60 years within 1 year of the commencement of the Act (1 April 2017) may request to retire at that age rather than having to wait until 65.
  • Employees who are due to retire within 6 months after the commencement of the Act may request to continue their employment.   

This Act is also binding on the Crown, and accordingly, BVI government employees are also covered, except if they are Police Inspectors, subordinate Police Officers or Police Constables. If they are, the Governor may retire them at 55 or, if they pass the necessary physical exam, continue their employment for a further period not exceeding five years.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.