The government has just published regulations abolishing the default retirement age (DRA) from 6 April 2011. 

This means that employers can only issue notices of compulsory retirement to employees before 6 April this year if:

  • their retirement date is on or before 30 September 
  • and they follow the “duty to consider” procedure for considering the employee’s right to request to work post-DRA. 

Employers cannot, therefore, issue notifications of retirement relying on the DRA after 5 April 2011 if the intended date of retirement is on or after 1 October. 

That also means that from 1 October 2011, retirement will no longer be a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. 

Employees issued with a notice to retire after that date can therefore bring a claim of unfair dismissal and age discrimination. To defend the claim, the employer would have to show that it was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. 

However, the new rules no longer require employers to make arrangements for or provide access to the provision of insurance (such as life assurance cover) or related financial services for employees under 65 or the state pension age whichever is the greater. This age limit will increase as the state pension age goes up.