Ditch the Retirement Age campaign moves into new phase

Personnel Today’s campaign to scrap the default retirement age (DRA) has now moved on to its next stage – convincing employers that operating without a fixed retirement age holds no fears.

The online Number 10 petition has now closed, with more than 500 people signing up to force the government the ditch the DRA. Signatories included leading HR directors, officials from campaign groups, as well as members of the public. A response from ministers is likely to be sent to all signatories in the coming weeks.

Since Personnel Today and the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) created the petition there have been significant developments on retirement. Under considerable pressure from MPs, judges, campaigners and academics, the government has committed to reviewing the DRA in 2010, a year earlier than planned; the judgment in the Heyday case made it clear that the current DRA would be very difficult to justify in the future; and the Civil Service has scrapped its retirement age for all employees.

The EFA insisted it was now clear that organisations planning ahead for a world without fixed retirement ages would be in a very strong position come any decision early next year.

Rachel Krys, EFA campaign director, said: “The EFA is working with members who are now developing plans for operating without the DRA, or with a DRA at a significantly older age. The next challenge for this campaign is to spread the word that operating without a retirement age is, in practice, very easy.

“None of the employers that have already taken the step to remove their DRA report any of the predicted downsides; in fact they have a productive workforce and people choose when to ‘retire’. Empowering managers and developing confidence in performance management neutralises many of the fears about removing retirement ages.”

For more information, visit Personnel Today’s dedicated retirement campaign page.

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