The former default retirement age (DRA) was phased out on 30 September 2011.
The default retirement age provisions no longer apply.
So what is the replacement process?
It may still be possible to retire an Employee at an age which might be considered arbitrary provided that the retirement age can be objectively justified. There are already some work areas in which Employers have set and have justified retirement ages. For example, any service requiring significant levels of fitness or mental agility might already have Employer justified retirement ages. Obvious examples are the Fire Brigade and Air Traffic Controllers. One certainty is that the whole area will be carefully examined by Tribunals, it is noteworthy that an Employer justified retirement age was not considered appropriate when a firm of solicitors decided that a particular partner was too old to conduct his work in a successful way.
The important factor to bear in mind is that Employees can retire when they wish. Upon their retirement they are entitled to apply for their occupational and/or State Pension and will receive this in accordance with the pension rules or with the rules governing the State Retirement Pension. The difference is that Employers will no longer be allowed to ask Employees to retire but will instead have to discuss this with them.
Retirement should be discussed with Employees who are considering that decision anyway. It is important for there to be discussion and if possible for agreement to be reached. Employers have expressed concern that they may be left with an older workforce but there are few Employees who have no intention of ever retiring!
Because retirement will now become something to be discussed rather than a decision based simply on age it becomes more important for Employers and Employees to have a formal discussion at least once a year. Within those discussions the possible termination of somebody’s employment becomes one aspect of a wider ranging discussion which might include training needs, hopes and aspirations, performance, development plans etc.
No more than a very brief overview of this potentially difficult subject can be given on this website.