Managing retirement

On the 6 April 2011, there was a change to the law relating to retirement. The effect of this change is that in most cases workers can now retire when they are ready, rather than when their employer decides. It is direct age discrimination to require or persuade a worker to retire because of their age unless you can objectively justify doing so.

If an employer has served a retirement notice on an employee before 6 April 2011, the old rules will apply. These are set out below. This is important because, under the old rules, it was not age discrimination to force an employee to retire if you followed the correct procedures. Under the transitional arrangements, the old rules will continue to apply if you gave an employee 6 - 12 months notification before 6 April 2011 and they had already reached 65 (or any higher Normal Retirement Age), or would reach this age before 1 October 2011 - unless you are operating a lower Normal Retirement Age which can be objectively justified.

Retirement age is not necessarily the same as pension age – the age when a person becomes entitled to their pension. Equality law does not affect the age at which someone gets the state retirement pension. Neither does equality law affect the age at which a person can receive any occupational pension, which is decided by the rules of the pension scheme. Some workers may continue working beyond the age when they become entitled to a pension.

This part of the guidance first looks at the position from 6 April 2011.

  • What is a legitimate aim?
  • Is setting a retirement age proportionate?
  • Discriminatory retirement because of other protected characteristics
  • Good practice in managing an older workforce

The guide then looks at the old retirement rules:

  • Retirement age and the importance of procedure
  • Giving your employee notice that you want them to retire
  • What happened after notifying the employee
  • What happened if the procedures were not followed
  • Normal and Default Retirement Ages
  • The transitional retirement rules

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Last Updated: 15 Jan 2015