Statutory retirement age - what are the details?


Is there a statutory retirement age?

UK employment law used to say that 65 years of age was the statutory retirement age. Employers could require an employer to retire at age 65, as long as they followed the correct procedures. The law has now changed so that the concept of a statutory retirement age is much more flexible.

When did the law on statutory retirement change?

The provisions changing the law on statutory retirement came into force on 6 April 2011. This means that if an employer didn’t receive notice from their employer before 6 April 2011, their employer can’t make them retire on the basis of a statutory retirement age. Employers can only require an employee to retire at age 65 if the employee was notified before 6 April 2011, and they were aged 65 or above before 1 October 2011.

Can an employer still compulsorily retire an employee?

Whilst an employee can’t make their employee retire due to a statutory retirement age, they can make an employee retire if it can be objectively justified in the particular circumstances. For example, the employer may insist that the employee is no longer physically capable of performing the demands of the job.

What was the law previously?

Prior to 6 April 2011, a ‘normal retirement age’ of 65 years of age was set. For certain types of jobs employers could set a different younger age, if they could ‘objectively justify’ the age. It was said that the age had to be a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

Is compulsory retirement discrimination?

Compulsory retirement on the basis purely of age may constitute age discrimination. An age discrimination case can be pursued by an employee in the employment tribunal. With an aging population, such claims are becoming more common, as people seek to work longer into their retirement.

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