29 September, 2009
The High Court last week upheld the law that allows UK employers to force workers to retire without redundancy pay at 65 years old - even if they do not want to retire.
As the law stands, an employer can dismiss a worker without redundancy payments on their 65th birthday, as long as they follow the correct procedure. Workers have the right to request to continue working beyond the date when the employer wants them to retire, but the employer is entitled to refuse the request and is not required to provide reasons for doing so. An employer can also refuse to recruit anyone over the age of 65.
Whilst the High Court ruling appears to be a victory for employers, they should be prepared for changes in the default retirement age. The High Court judge said that there was a "compelling case" for a change in the law, and commented that his decision may have been different if the government had not announced that it will bring forward a review of the compulsory retirement age in 2010. The review is likely to push the default retirement age beyond its current level of 65 years.
If you would like any further advice or assistance in relation to the procedure for retiring employees, please contact the Forbes Employment Law Team on 01254 222399.