Many of us have been campaigning along with Age Concern and TAEN to stop forced retirement at 65. Age Concern have taken the issue to the Hague and to date we have been presented with an ambiguous ruling that probably throws the final decision back to UK courts. This government has been prevaricating on the issue. Some business groups have been against it although Age Concern believe that as many as two-thirds of UK employers no longer operate a fixed retirement age and 1.2m people are carrying on work beyond the normal retirement ages of 60 and 65. The Telegraph this morning carries the story that the Government are now planning to make it illegal to force people to retire at 65 and could see people working well in their 70s and beyond.
It would be applied retrospectively, covering workers who have already signed contracts requiring them to retire at the normal age.
The Government believes action is needed to help those who will find their savings, pension or income lower than expected in the coming years as a result of the current recession. It is the first time that the Government has suggested that the review into the current retirement age of 65 - which is due to conclude in 2011 - will consider calls to eliminate the default age entirely, rather than merely raising it in line with plans to increase the state pension age to 68.
The number of people wishing to work longer has already increased rapidly over the past decade. In 1998, 8 percent of women worked past 60 and 7 percent of men worked past 65. However, in 2008, 10 percent of men were working above the retirement age and 13 per cent of women. Older workers also receive more generous income tax allowances.
More than 250 people have recently lodged tribunal claims after being dismissed at 65.