7th April 2011 My ref: EO/33
TO: THE SECRETARY
ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS
Circular No. NP/067/11
ABOLITION OF THE DEFAULT RETIREMENT AGE
As from 6th April 2011 the law that allowed employers to retire employees at age 65 (the default retirement age) without having to explain why is being phased out. When discrimination on the grounds of age was made unlawful in certain circumstances in 2006, a provision of the legislation enabled employers to retire employees at age 65 without having to explain why, providing they carried out a certain procedure, which allowed for employees to request to work beyond retirement. In future, employees in theory will be able to choose when they want to retire. If the employer forces someone to retire, they will have to justify the decision at an Employment Tribunal if challenged by the employee.
Transitional arrangements have now been set out after considerable confusion caused by legislative drafting errors by the ConDem Government. If an employer retires someone because they are 65 then both the following must apply:-
- The notice of retirement must have been given to the employee before 6th April 2011.
- The employee must be aged 65 or over (or the employer’s retirement age, if that is higher) by 30th September 2011.
- If the member has been given this notice, they still have the right to request to work beyond that retirement date and the employer must consider the request as set out in The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. (This procedure is readily available from Head Office.)
Any dismissal on the grounds of retirement notified from 6th April on, if not objectively justified by the employer, will amount to unlawful age discrimination under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.
Whilst employees may now have the right to remain in work after age 65, the change in legislation no longer requires employers to make arrangements for or provide access to the provision of insurance or related financial services to those over 65 or state pension age, whichever is the greater.
The abolition of the default retirement age may be welcome by some but we need to ensure that our members can retire with dignity and at a time of their choosing. We do not want a culture where it becomes acceptable to work until you drop.
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