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Workers choose when they retire… not the bosses!

On 1st March 2011 the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills published draft regulations to repeal retirement.

This is good news for those who want or need to carry on working past 65. Dismissed workers over 65 will be in a stronger position to bring unfair dismissal claims. Before now, employers have been able to force workers to retire fairly easily simply because of their age.

There has been considerable uncertainty about the position for some time – and the draft regulations make it plain that this situation is likely to continue a few months longer.

From 6th April 2011 retirement will no longer be a fair reason for dismissal, or attract exemptions to age discrimination legislation.

Transitional provisions are in place to cover a period from 6th April 2011, for those employees who have been given 6 months notice of retirement by their employers, and are or will be 65 before 30th September 2011.

It is very likely, after 6th April 2011, that employers will find it very difficult to justify a contractual retirement age without proving, by reference to a documented process, that it has properly deliberated on such a provision and that it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. The government has admitted as much.

Our commercial & employment teams will continue to stay on top of the latest developments so that our advice and drafting is up to the minute for employers and employees alike.

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