Ditch the Retirement Age petition receives government response

The government has responded to Personnel Today’s online petition calling for the default retirement age (DRA) to be scrapped, with ministers asking for evidence from employers to feed into next year’s review.

Nearly 550 people signed up to put pressure on the government to the ditch the DRA, as part of the campaign. Signatories included leading HR directors, officials from campaign groups, as well as members of the public.

In its response to the petition, e-mailed to all signatories, the government said it was committed to carrying out an “evidence-based review” of the DRA before any decisions were taken on possible changes.

It stated: “We have always said it was our intention to move towards more flexible approaches to retirement. We will continue to encourage employers to take a positive approach to older workers, including allowing people to continue in work as long as they are willing and able to do so. If, on the basis of the evidence before it, the review concludes that changes to the regulations are necessary, we will, of course, support employers through these.”

The government brought forward its review of the DRA from 2011 to early next year. Ministers now want evidence on the retirement age to be submitted by 1 February 2010 on areas including:

  • The operation of the DRA in practice

  • The reasons that businesses use mandatory retirement ages

  • The impacts on businesses, individuals and the economy of raising or removing the default retirement age

  • The experience of businesses operating without a DRA

  • How any costs of raising or removing the DRA could be mitigated and benefits realised.

Business minister Pat McFadden said: “The default retirement age is a subject that employees, the business community, trade unions and charities all have a strong interest in. We want to receive information from all of these parties as it is important that our review is based on robust, detailed and wide-ranging evidence.”

A meeting of key parties to try to thrash out the way forward, including the CBI, unions, age campaigners and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills officials, is set to take place next month.

E-mail submissions to [email protected]


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