The Abolition Of The Default Retirement Age | Legal Advice For SMEs

Businesses can no longer expect to retire employees at the age of 65. Dismissing someone at 65 will amount to age discrimination unless it can be objectively justified.

The changes to the default retirement age present businesses with a new set of challenges. You may be looking to plan for the future and promote younger employees but it is important that you are aware of age discrimination legislation and the risks it may pose.

How Do I Plan Ahead?

With many businesses unsure of what the changes to retirement age means, you may fear that discussing retirement with older employees could be seen to be discriminatory.

We recommend that you have regular discussions with all employees, regardless of their age. Ask about their short, medium and long-term plans and build this discussion into their regular appraisals. Talking to all employees ensures that you are not only asking older workers about their future plans, which could be seen as discriminatory.

Holding these discussions will also help to motivate younger employees as they will understand the role they can play in the business’s future. You will also be able to carry out succession planning.

Important Tips On Avoiding Legal Issues Around Retirement Age

  • Don’t assume that employees want to retire just because they are approaching a certain age
  • Don’t make discriminatory comments that suggest an employee should move on due to their age, or referring that they are 'past it'
  • Be aware that if an employee suggests they want to retire, they have the right to change their mind at any time until they have handed in their notice
  • Make sure that employment or promotion prospects will not be prejudiced because an employee mentions retirement
  • Consider alternatives to retirement such as a more flexible working pattern or taking on a new role

If you have any concerns about how to handle retirement without being discriminatory, talk to our expert employment lawyers. We help many businesses successfully deal with these issues.

Contact Us For Help In Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims

If you would like help with any issue relating to age discrimination or retirement, contact Fergal Dowling on 0121 214 5476 or get in touch online.

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