At Last – End Of The Default Retirement Age – It is no longer legal to sack someone just because they are 65
by Dr. Ros Altmann
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- 5th October 2012 marks the final date that employers can force workers to retire at 65
- Record numbers are already continuing to work past 65 to the benefit of themselves and the economy
The Default Retirement Age (DRA) which allowed employers to force people to retire when they reached 65, becomes history on 5th October 2012, as older workers are given more choice about when to stop working.
The end of forced retirement should have happened many years ago and Saga has long campaigned for the change in this law.
Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga comments:
“We have already seen a huge increase in numbers of older workers. The fact is that people are simply not ‘old’ or ‘past it’ any more in their sixties and, after all the tremendous advances in healthcare and labour practices, there is no reason why those who want to keep working should be forced out just on the grounds of their age. Such ageist attitudes and discriminatory practices have no place in a modern labour market.
“It is a credit to this Government that one of its first actions when taking office was to announce an end to the Default Retirement Age. The move was long overdue and hopefully the workplace is now much more welcoming to older workers. This change does not mean anyone has to be forced to work longer. But it does mean that employers cannot force people to stop, if they are perfectly good at their jobs and willing and able to work.
“Employers will now have to justify sacking people, on the grounds of whether they are able to do their jobs well enough, not just on the basis of an arbitrary age prejudice”.
“More people working past age 65 does not mean they are taking away jobs from the young. Of course Youth Unemployment is a dreadful problem, but there is not a fixed number of jobs in any economy. By keeping more over 65s economically active, we will be improving the medium term job prospects for everyone in Britain, since millions of older people pulling out of the labour force with inadequate pensions would leave less money to spend on leisure, services and consumption which ultimately means fewer jobs and lower growth for younger generations too. A social revolution seems underway, and the more people embrace these opportunities, the better for all of us.”
Before April 2011, employers had to give workers between 6 and 12 months notice of intention to force their to retire, and there was a further 6 months possible extension, if they were forcing them to retire using the age 65 Default Retirement Age rules. Therefore, the latest possible retirement date that someone could still be forced to retire under the old DRA system is 5th October 2012.