Retirement age scrapped: What does it mean for you?

Published by on 13 January 2011.
Last updated on 13 January 2011

retirement roadsign

The default retirement age of 65 will be scrapped from October this year, the government has announced.

It means employees will no longer be able to be dismissed just because they have reached the age of 65. 

The Department of Business says from April 6 2011, employers will not be able to issue any notifications for compulsory retirement using the default retirement age procedure.

Between 6 April and 1 October, only people who were notified before 6 April, and whose retirement date is before 1 October can be forced to retire using the default retirement age.

After 1 October, employers will not be able to use the default retirement age to compulsorily retire employees.

What the changes mean for you:

Q. Am I no longer allowed to retire at 65?

You are still able to retire at 65 if you choose to do so. The rules simply mean your employer cannot force you to leave just because you have reached 65.

Q. Can I still draw a pension at 65?

Yes, for now. The age at which you can draw a pension has not been changed. You can still draw your pension at 65 if you choose to retire then. However, the coalition has claimed the age at which you can draw a pension will rise to 66 by 2020.

Q. Do the new rules apply to all jobs?

There will be some jobs where it is unfeasible for an employee to stay on after 65, including many manual jobs. The government says the employer must "objectively justify" their decision to keep a retirement age.

Q. I am an employer, do I have to keep on workers over the age of 65 rather than hiring youngsters and giving them a chance?

The argument that older people will block jobs for youngsters is ongoing. However, this would not be a valid reason to dismiss someone from a post. Only if you feel the person's performance is becoming poor or unsatisfactory could you issue a "fair dismissal".

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