Following the announcement at the end of last year that the default retirement age (“DRA”) was to be abolished, the Government have now published draft regulations, The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011 (“the Regulations”) which are to come into force on 6 April 2011.
As expected the Regulations will make it unlawful for an employer to require an employee to retire simply because they have reached the age of 65.
At present employers are required to give their staff notice of retirement between 6 and 12 months prior to the termination of their employment and to allow them to request to work beyond the age of 65. Due to this the Regulations also include some transitional provisions which deal with those employees who are given notice before 6 April 2011. These provide employers with the opportunity to continue with their intention to retire these employees as long as the notice is given before 6 April 2011 and the employee reaches the age of 65 on or before 30 September 2011.
However, there is still some uncertainty as to whether such retirements will be permitted to take effect after 1 October 2011, as it had originally been thought that this would be the cut off date. It now appears that retirements under the DRA may continue up to 5 April 2012 as 5 April 2011 will be the last date on which the maximum 12 months notice can be given.
The Regulations also make it clear that it will not be unlawful to cease providing insurance benefits to employees when they reach the age of 65.
We will bring you further updates about the abolition of the DRA as soon as they are announced.