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Employers forced 100,000 'mature' workers to retire last year

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As the government prepares to phase out the Default Retirement Age, new research shows employers forced around 100,000 mature workers aged 60 and over to retire last year. Campaign group Age UK says this represents a fourfold increase on the previous two years.

The Default Retirement Age was introduced in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. It allows employers to force staff to retire at 65 even if they want to continue working, provided they follow the correct procedure.

Business groups have fiercely opposed scrapping the Default Retirement Age. They argue it gives them more flexibility to dismiss mature employees who generally cost more to employ than younger workers and sometimes may not be able to work as effectively, particularly in manual jobs.

But Age UK data shows that axing 100,000 mature employees cost the economy £3.5bn in lost output last year. The group has accused business organisations of trying to maintain "an unequal status quo".

"Employers are trying to breathe life into dead arguments in a desperate attempt to keep the upper hand over older workers' retirement decisions," said Age UK director Michelle Mitchell.

"The government has made the right call on forced retirement and we encourage ministers to stand by it.

"There's overwhelming evidence that older workers, the UK economy, public finances and employers themselves will all benefit from the abolition of forced retirement."

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