Government to scrap the default retirement age

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29 July 2010

The Government today announced its plans to abolish the default retirement age.                                                                  

The Government today announced its plans to abolish the default retirement age.
 
Employers can currently require employees to retire at age 65 but under the Government's proposals there will be no fixed retirement age as of 1 October 2011.
 
The current proposals are for the default retirement age and associated statutory retirement procedures to cease to apply from 6 April 2011.  Transitional arrangements will mean that the current statutory procedures will continue to apply to retirements where the employee has been notified of retirement prior to 6 April 2011, and the retirement will take effect prior to 1 October 2011. 
This means that any dismissals from 1 October 2011 will have to be conducted in accordance with normal unfair dismissal principles.  The Government is considering issuing guidance or a code of practice to assist employers and employees when dealing with dismissals of employees at or over the current retirement age.
 
The proposals should not affect an employer's ability to impose a compulsory retirement age, provided this can be objectively justified, although in practice the ability to do so will be very limited.
 
The consultation on the Government's proposals runs until 21 October this year, and the consultation document is available here.

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