TUC waves goodbye to “unfair anachronism” and welcomes more flexible approach to retirement


Anyone who turns 65 after today will no longer lose their job simply because of their age, the TUC says ahead of the end of the UK’s default retirement age (DRA) tomorrow.

Under the DRA, which the government began phasing out from April this year, employers have been able to retire people on their 65th birthday for no other reason than their age. But for anyone who turns 65 after today, or who is under 65 but hasn’t been given six months notice, employers now have to justify why they want to retire a member of staff.

The TUC has long considered the DRA to be an unfair anachronism in modern workplaces as staff, and most good employers, would like a more flexible approach to retirement.

While many people do not want to work beyond 65 or are unable to because of the nature of their work, abolishing the default retirement age will help people retire at a time that suits both them and their employer, says the TUC.

The growing number of people working past 65 shows that many people are keen to stay in work and have a lot to offer employers, says the TUC. However, many are forced to continue working due to poor pay and lack of a decent pension, illustrating the urgent need for better pension provision in the private sector.

The TUC and the Charted Institute for Personal and Development (CIPD) have recently published guidance for staff and employers on managing age in the workplace, which is available here. The guide offers best practice guidance on working without a retirement age.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “After years of campaigning, it’s great to see the end of the default retirement age.

“As of tomorrow, anyone celebrating their 65th birthday can do so knowing they cannot get dismissed from their job simply because of their age. This should give more workers the opportunity to retire at their own pace, rather than having it imposed on them by a short-sighted employer.

“Not everyone wants to work beyond 65, and many have no choice but to work on, but many older people still have a lot to contribute – and employers can really benefit from the wealth of their experience.”

CIPD diversity adviser Dianah Worman said: “The removal of the default retirement age has been long heralded. Its removal opens up new opportunities to employers and employees and is to be welcomed, not feared.

“Good talent management helps businesses to achieve good performance and is vital in today’s highly competitive and turbulent times. Many organisations already operate successfully without a compulsory retirement age.

“Those that have not yet tackled the way they manage retirement need to catch up with leading good practice to make sure that they too have a competitive employment edge or they could risk falling seriously behind more innovative employers in the ‘war for talent’. CIPD research continues to show this phenomenon prevails despite the difficult economic climate.”


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