03 March 2011

Default retirement age

Christina Morton
Professional support lawyer | UK

Revised draft Regulations on the abolition of the default retirement age were published on Wednesday 2nd March.

There had at the time of publication already been considerable confusion about what employers can do and by what dates they must take particular steps. However the position under the new draft (which is expected to become law in this form) is as follows:

  1. The last date for an employer to give notice of retirement will be 5th April 2011. Provided the employer follows the existing statutory retirement procedure the dismissal will be for retirement and therefore fair and not discriminatory.
  2. Employees whom you wish to retire must reach their 65th birthday before 1st October 2011. This corrects an error in the previous draft, which suggested that the 65th birthday would have to be reached in a window between 6th April 2011 and 30th September 2011.
  3. It was originally thought that employers would be able to give no more than six months’ notice, expiring no later than 30th September 2011. The revised draft Regulations confirm that up to 12 months’ notice of termination can be given, meaning that the employer’s notice of retirement must expire no later than 5th April 2012.
  4. However, the employee may decide to make a request to retire at a later date under the existing statutory retirement procedure. If the employee does wish to do so the last date on which they can make their request will be 4th January 2012.
  5. If this right is exercised, the actual date of retirement could, if the employer agrees, be postponed to 5th October 2012.
  6. Hence, taking points 2 and 3 together, contrary to what the Government has said previously, there will in fact be dismissals for retirement for up to a year after 1st October 2011.
  7. It was previously thought that employers might need to use the provisions for giving ‘short’ (ie less than six months’) notice of retirement to stay within the transitional provisions. However, there is now no need for this, as the draft Regulations confirm that employers can give between six and 12 months’ notice by the 5th April deadline.

For further information please contact Daniel Isaac.

Christina Morton Professional support lawyer | London

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