As change in law allows science faculty to keep working after age 70, academia must rethink its personnel policies.
The end of mandatory retirement for faculty at United States colleges and universities--a policy change that became effective on January 1 of this year--is placing a new burden on the schools as well as individual faculty members.

While the end of the longstanding policy has not brought about--as some administrators had feared--a deluge of complaints from young job candidates concerned about a dearth of future job openings, it is causing schools to take a hard look at their retirement incentive plans. At the same time, professors are now finding that they have to make independent decisions about when to stop working.

When Congress passed the 1986 amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, prohibiting mandatory retirement on the basis of age for most workers, it included several...

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