Manufacturers unite over standard retirement age

The UK’s manufacturers have urged the Government to set a standard retirement age of 65 when it introduces EU legislation on age discrimination in 2006.

According to a major survey of companies published today by the manufacturing and engineering organisation EEF and HR specialists Aon Consulting, two-thirds of more than 500 companies of all sizes wanted a default retirement age of 65, with only one-quarter wanting the limit raised to 70.

The call comes ahead of what is probably the final meeting of the Department for Work and Pensions Age Taskforce later this week amid fears that the group has been unable to come to a clear conclusion.

Government sources told Person-nel Today that the working group is still split on the matter, but that the Government is moving towards having no default retirement age – in line with what Brussels wants.

One in four respondents to the EEF study already have full-time employees over the normal retirement age, while a third of companies employ part-time staff over the age of 65.

The EEF said the figures back its view that the Government should continue to encourage a voluntary approach rather than adopt introduce legislation which might affect agreements that already work well as well as adding extra costs and administrative burdens.

EEF deputy director of employment policy, David Yeandle, said: “The Government is already pursuing a positive approach to the culture change needed towards employing older staff in companies through its age diversity programme. This approach is the right way forward and is likely to receive far greater support from employers than prescriptive legislation.”

To find out more read Personnel Today’s in-depth investigation into the UK’s ageing workforce. GO TO

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