On 10 December, the DWP published its response to its consultation document "flexible retirement and pension provision", issued in December 2008. That original consultation document had sought views on the potential introduction of two alternative permissive exemptions to the non-discrimination rule under age discrimination legislation. In essence, these draft regulations would have formally exempted flexible retirement practices from being potentially age discriminatory under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

However, the Government has concluded that:

  • There is evidence that flexible retirement arrangements have been successfully set up within the current framework; and
  • Correspondents to the consultation doubted that flexible retirement in concept was discriminatory in any event. Therefore:
  • The consultation has "not provided sufficient robust evidence to proceed with either of the exceptions set out in the consultation."

Notwithstanding its conclusions, the DWP notes that "it is clear from the wide range of responses that there remains significant uncertainty" and will, therefore, "consider the prospects for further guidance".