Default retirement age should be scrapped not ‘phased out’, equality group warns

Plans to scrap the default retirement age (DRA) ‘in phases’ has angered an equality group that has actively campaigned with Personnel Today to see the back of the legislation.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition agreement yesterday confirmed the DRA would be “phased out”. The new government also confirmed it set a date to review raising the state pension age to 66, although this rise would not happen before 2016 for men and 2020 for women.

However, Rachel Krys, campaign director of the Employers Forum on Age, was disappointed the DRA plans did not go further.

She said: “The EFA is really disappointed to hear that the new government only intends to phase out the DRA, and believes that this could be a missed opportunity to ensure that age cannot be used to arbitrarily dismiss people. The DRA is fundamentally discriminatory, based on the assumption that age affects someone’s ability to do their job.

Manifesto commitments from both parties indicated that they would remove the default retirement age and we hope that this remains one of their priorities.”

Employers that have already scrapped the DRA, such as Asda, McDonald’s and Nationwide, had seen productivity and staff engagement increase, Krys said.

Last year, a judge in the long-running Heyday case ruled the DRA was not unlawful, but there was a “compelling” case for it’s removal at 65.

Personnel Today has long been campaigning to ditch the DRA.

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