The Government has called for businesses and individuals to submit evidence on the default retirement age.
Currently, under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, UK law permits employers to require all staff to retire at 65 - the default retirement age - regardless of their circumstances and even if they don't want to retire, so long as they follow the correct procedure.
In addition, employers may refuse to hire someone over 65, or the employer's normal retirement age, without having to justify it.
They can also refuse to consider an application from anyone who applies for a job within six months of their 65th birthday (or the employer's normal retirement age, if this is over 65).
1.4 million people choose to work beyond 65, however, and many more would like to carry on working, but are prevented from doing so because so many employers have implemented the default retirement age.
Last month, in the so-called Heyday case, the National Council on Aging lost a legal challenge against the retirement age. But, in reaching a decision, the judge was clearly mindful of the Government's announcement that it had decided to bring forward a review of the default retirement age to 2010 from 2011.
As a precursor to the review, the Government has asked for evidence on the following:
- The operation of the default retirement age in practice;
- The reasons that businesses use mandatory retirement ages;
- The impacts on businesses, individuals and the economy of raising or
removing the default retirement age;
- The experience of businesses operating without a default retirement age;
- How could any costs of raising or removing the DRA be mitigated and benefits realised.
Evidence must be submitted by 1st February 2010.
Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society Angela Eagle MP said:
"As people live and work longer, it's sensible we debate what works for both business and individuals. The laws around employment and retirement need to reflect changes in economic and social circumstances."
Meanwhile, Business Minister Pat McFadden MP said:
"The default retirement age is a subject that employees, the business community, trade unions and charities all have a strong interest in. We want to receive information from all of these parties as it is important that our review is based on robust, detailed and wide-ranging evidence."
** Additional information & advice **
You can obtain further information about age discrimination on FindLaw.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with an employment law solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.