The draft Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011, which come into force on 6 April 2011, have been laid before Parliament.
The Regulations mean that employers will not be able to set a retirement age at which employees are required to retire, unless they can justify it. The statutory retirement procedure that employers can currently follow to bring about compulsory retirements is also being abolished.
The Regulations contain transitional provisions to allow the default retirement age and the statutory retirement procedure to be phased out. The last date on which an employer can give an employee notice of retirement under the default retirement age is 5 April 2011. However, the Regulations state that retirements that are notified to employees on or before 5 April 2011 can continue through to completion provided that:
- the statutory retirement procedure is correctly followed; and
- the person retiring reaches 65 (or the employer's normal retirement age, if that is higher) between 6 April and 30 September 2011 (it is unclear at present if the Government intends to limit this to employees achieving this age from 6 April, as this would appear to prevent employees reaching this age before 6 April from being retired under the transitional provisions - we are seeking clarification if this is an error).
According to BIS, this means that the last possible date on which an employer can retire an employee under the default retirement age is 5 April 2012 (where the employer gives an employee who reaches 65 (or the employer's normal retirement age, if that is higher) between 6 April and 30 September 2011 the full 12-month notification of retirement on 5 April 2011).
Employers should note that this is a change to what had previously been stated in the Acas guidance produced in January 2011. Acas has since amended its guidance, which previously said that "the last day that employees can be compulsorily retired under the default retirement age is 30 September, so the last day to provide six months' notice required by the DRA provisions is 30 March 2011" and "employers can still use the DRA between 30 March 2011 and before 6 April 2011 but if they do they must use the short notice provisions".
- Draft Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011 (Microsoft Word format, 63K) Read the draft Regulations, which abolish the default retirement age.
- Working without the default retirement age (PDF format, 343K) Read the Acas guidance on the removal of the default retirement age on its website.