Employers must not be allowed to use performance management or physical testing as a means of “browbeating” older employees into resigning once the default retirement age (DRA) is scrapped next year, campaigners have warned.
In its submission to the Government’s consultation on the phasing out of the DRA, which closes this Thursday (21 October), The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) says that underperforming employees, regardless of age, should be given the opportunity to improve, move to more suitable roles, gain extra training or be supported by adjustments in work arrangements to recognise any reduction in physical capacity.
TAEN is also calling for a statutory code of practice and formal guidance for employers on how to approach retirement discussions, which should focus on how employees move towards retirement, not just about when they will retire.
Chris Ball, chief executive of TAEN, said: “Following the repeal of the DRA next year, a few employers may try to use performance management or physical testing as a means of browbeating older employees into resignation.
“We must make clear that such approaches are unacceptable and that all employees are evaluated in an equitable and even-handed way.”
Both staff and employers will benefit from a more structured way of discussing retirement, Ball added.
“Employees with long service records or who have reached a certain age should be able to sit down with their managers and discuss their retirement plans,” he said.”Without good management procedures in place, older workers may still be forced out of their jobs.”
The submission came as research revealed that the UK’s ageing population are healthier and more energetic than any previous generation. A survey of 1,200 older workers by Friends Provident, revealed that 51% want to continue working after they reach the retirement age as a way of staying active.
Moreover, 47% of respondents fear that they will get bored when they stop working with 43% stating that they enjoy the social contact that comes from being in a working environment.
Although the DRA won’t be completely scrapped until 1 October 2011, transitional arrangements from 6 April 2011 mean that employers don’t have much time to get to grips with the proposals. We have compiled a list of 10 things that employers need to know.