British Chambers of Commerce warns Government over retirement age plans

More than a third of British businesses could be damaged if the Government decides to remove the right of companies to set the retirement age of employees, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

In a survey of 1,200 businesses across all sectors, the BCC found that 36 per cent of employers thought it was crucial to their business to retain the right to set a retirement age.

The figures emerged in advance of a meeting of the Government’s Taskforce on Age Discrimination, which will discuss taking away the employers’ right to set their own retirement age for staff.

BCC director general David Frost said: “British businesses are facing an ever increasing number of diktats determining how to run their companies. Bosses need to be able to plan their workforce effectively to ensure they can remain competitive in the global economy.

“Having a retirement age is the best of both worlds – employers know when someone is due to retire, but can still have the flexibility to agree with individual employees who want to work beyond that age.”

“We are already seeing proposals to change maternity rights, the use of temporary workers, how to dismiss employees – the list goes on. When will the Government and Europe realise that employers need to be trusted to run their businesses and look after their staff, rather than this constant interfering?”

The BCC has called for a mandatory retirement age of 65, but individual employers should be able to define the end point of the employer-employee relationship.

The BCC said the normal retirement age could be set at the same level as the state pension age to ensure that older workers did not run the risk of missing out on state benefits.

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