Phasing out the default retirement age

14 August 2010
Phasing out the default retirement age

For our latest update on the default retirement age, see our 2 February 2011 blog post.

From October 2011, the default retirement age will be abolished. We look briefly at what this means for employers.

What is the default retirement age?

In England, employers can retire an individual who is over 65 without this being unfair dismissal or age discrimination, providing they follow a set procedure (“the statutory procedure”). This statutory procedure is outlined in Schedule 6 of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.


When will the default retirement age will be phased out by?
1 October 2011.


What will happen after this?
An employer wishing to retire an employee on 1 October 2011 or after will need to follow a fair dismissal procedure (as set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996) instead of the statutory retirement procedure above.

This means that any retirement notifications you give will need to be objectively justified ie. you'll have to show that retirement is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.” Saving money in itself is not a legitimate aim. But health and safety and the needs/efficiency of the business may be.

You’ll be able to complete any retirements under the statutory procedure if you notify the individual before 6 April 2011 – and the retirement itself is complete before 1 October 2011.

However you may wish to begin plans now to phase out the default retirement age where you work. The CIPD has produced a document to help you with this.


For further information visit the retirement section of HRBird:

Please note that HRBird by its very nature offers general information. If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, speak to an HR professional or solicitor. Got a question on staff or volunteers? To submit an anonymous query for the HRBird blog, contact us.

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