A number of Government departments have already introduced a no mandatory retirement age policy. In July of this year, Permanent Secretaries agreed to work together to introduce across the remaining Civil Service a no mandatory retirement age policy for staff below the Senior Civil Service by March 2010. Separate work is being undertaken by the Cabinet Office to review the potential for extending this change to the Senior Civil Service (SCS).
Since 2006 a number of departments, employing approximately 50 per cent of Civil Servants, have already introduced a no mandatory retirement age policy – these include Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In July, Permanent Secretaries agreed to work together to introduce a no mandatory retirement age policy for staff below the SCS in the remaining departments.
A spokesperson from the MOD's Director General Civilian Personnel Pensions team explained what today's announcement means to staff who may be planning to retire:
They make it very clear that introducing this will not affect the age at which people can take their full pension benefits but it will give them greater choice as to when they choose to retire.
The news was deliberately announced to coincide with Older Peoples Day on October 1.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell added:
"Older People's Day recognises the important contribution that older workers make in the work place. Like any successful organisation, we need people who have knowledge and experience in key areas, as well as those with fresh ideas to challenge traditional methods. I am proud that the Civil Service values all colleagues, regardless of age, and recognises that we must build on the skills and experience of an increasingly diverse workforce so that we can continue to improve the delivery of public services for everyone in society.
"The new commitment by all departments to a no mandatory retirement age policy across the Civil Service by 2010, for those below the Senior Civil Service, is an important change to our workforce policy. It is a practical demonstration of our commitment to providing greater flexibility for our people."
Catharine Pusey, Director of The Employers Forum on Age comments, “We welcome the civil service’s decision to remove the unfair and discriminatory practice of being able to insist their employees retire at 65 and hope that it helps focus the Government’s mind ahead of the result of the Heyday challenge". This refers to the case brought by Age Concern to the Hague to abandon mandatory retirement totally in the UK.