Human resources professionals must demonstrate business benefits of working beyond retirement age

Human resources professionals should champion an end to forced retirement for business as well as legal reasons, the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) has insisted.

A poll by insurance firm AXA last week revealed that one in five retirees experienced pressure from their employer to quit.

EFA director Rachel Krys told Personnel Today that companies encouraging staff to retire at any age were risking costly age discrimination claims as well as the loss of key skills from their organisation.

“Employers should be planning to remove the retirement age,” she said. “You have to let people work longer, it is good for the business and it is good for the individual.”

A challenge to the legal retirement age by charity Heyday will be heard by the European Court of Justice later this year, with many employees made to retire beforehand looking to put age discrimination claims on record in case the UK government loses.

Krys said: “Employers are at huge risk if they are operating a mandatory retirement age. As publicity about the Heyday case increases, there might be lots more people lodging age claims.

“But there are business benefits to letting people work longer. If you get your performance management right then it will pay dividends. It can increase employee motivation, retain knowledge and reduce recruitment costs.

“HR has a big role to play in making changes happen and persuading senior executives that they should happen.”

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