Retirement age ban is not feasible for all employers

I seem to be a lone voice in the wilderness, but why have many HR practitioners leapt on the ‘scrap the default retirement age (DRA)’ bandwagon?

If keeping someone beyond their 65th birthday, or indeed starting them as a new employee, is good for your business at the time, then just go ahead and do it, but don’t force it on everyone.

For years, HR has done nothing but complain about not being taken seriously by our operational colleagues, bemoaned the lack of boardroom involvement, and reinvented our job titles in an effort to sound more commercially-minded. And now what are we doing? How many of those joining the anti-DRA debate have solicited the views of their operational colleagues?

I am an HR manager in a manufacturing company that supplies and installs for the building trade. We struggle to find people aged over 40 who want to work on a building site in the winter, let alone 65, and we can’t find enough ‘light duties’ to accommodate the number of people with various medical restrictions that we currently employ. HR would not be popular if we went out there and proudly told our operational colleagues that they should thank us for advocating a change of the law.

If it works for your organisation, there is nothing to stop you keeping everyone on for as long as they want or need to work. But allowing the retirement date to rest solely with the employee is likely to have serious performance management and occupational health implications for many businesses.

Martin Manning, personnel manager, Epwin Group

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