July 18, 2005

DTI seeks end to forced retirement

by brian_turner

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The government is to give the over-65 age group the same protection against unfair dismissal as younger workers. Under a European directive, forced retirement before the age of 65 and age discrimination in recruitment, promotion and training will be banned.

The reforms will be implemented on 1 October 2006 and will bring UK laws into line with those in the USA and in most other European Union countries.

Employers will be required to give workers six months notice it they want them to retire at 65 and will also have to consider requests to continue to work after this age.

Alan Johnson, Trade and Industry secretary welcomed the plan and said “people need to be able to plan for their future and retirement should not come as an unexpected surprise”.

However, David Willetts, the Conservative shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, said that the plan would not give older people protection against dismissal. He argued that employers would still be able to force workers into retirement at age 65 because retirement would not constitute unfair dismissal if it was on or after 65.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is consulting with employers over the implications of the new measures.

The charity Age Concern said that the government had missed an opportunity to end forced retirement.

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern’s director general, argued that the skills of older workers would be increasingly relied upon but thousands of people would still be denied the right to choose when to retire.

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