Scrap default retirement at 65 says Commons committee

A regulation in the Equality Bill upholding the default retirement age of 65 should be removed, the work and pensions committee has said.

The Commons committee has published a report on the Bill which said regulation 30 – which upholds employers’ right to compulsorily retire workers when they turn 65 – was not in keeping with the government’s aims to raise the retirement age to tackle pension deficits.

The report said: “In light of the judgment by the European Court of Justice, we recommend that the government removes regulation 30, which permits employers to continue to compulsorily retire employees at the age of 65.

“This regulation contradicts the government’s wider social policy and labour market objectives to raise the average retirement age and allow people to continue to work and save for their retirement.”

Personnel Today has been campaigning since October 2008 for the government to remove this default retirement age by 2011.

The national default retirement age was set through the introduction of the Employment Equality Regulation on 1 October 2006. The regulation means employers can terminate their workers’ contracts once they reach 65 years, and employees wishing to work beyond this age must request to do so in writing.

The Heyday case, investigating whether employers can lawfully force people to retire at the age of 65, will return to the High Court on 16 July, with a decision expected in the autumn.

The government has said it will review the default retirement age in 2011.

The Equality Bill is due to complete the committee stage today.

Sign Personnel Today’s “Scrap the default retirement age” petition here.

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