The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills confirmed on 13 January 2011 that the default retirement age (“DRA”) will be abolished from 1st October 2011. Transitional arrangements have been published and the phased withdrawal commences on 6 April 2011.

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has issued a helpful 20-page guide for employers on Working without the Default Retirement Age, together with a flow-chart setting out the transitional arrangements that will apply during the phasing process.

The guide neatly summarises the key considerations for employers in the run up to 1 October 2011. These are that:

  • The last day on which employees can be compulsorily dismissed on the grounds of retirement is 30 September 2011;
  • The last day to provide the requisite six months’ notice of dismissal under the DRA procedure is therefore 30 March 2011;  
  • Employers can still rely on the DRA provisions between 30 March 2011 and before 6 April 2011 but only if they use the short notice provisions, which entitle an employee to claim compensation (subject to a maximum of eight weeks’ wages) in the event of dismissal.  
  • Employers will not be able to issue any new notifications of retirement using the DRA on or after 6 April 2011.