Elephants employed by the state of Kerala in southern India are to be granted full retirement benefits at the age of 65.
They are to be given good food, healthcare and living conditions according to State Forest Minister, K Sudhakaran.
Working elephants can often be seen on India's roads
"We are taking a serious note of growing cruelty towards captive elephants and their violent reaction to their human captors," Mr Sudhakaran told the state assembly.
"The Kerala Government has issued norms for the upkeep of elephants, which among other things insist that elephants retire from work at the age of 65 years."
Elephants can live for over 70 years in the wild, but their life expectancy reduces considerably when kept in captivity.
The new provisions will only apply to those elephants employed by the state.
Those working for private businesses such as circuses will not be covered.
The move comes as elephants in the Indian capital Delhi are being fitted with reflective badges in an attempt to prevent road accidents involving them.
"The butt-reflector, roped to the howdah (seat), costs just 100 rupees ($2) and is the simplest way to protect them," explained Aniruddha Mookerjee, Wildlife Trust of India programme director.