The Government has brought forward its review of the default retirement age from 2011 to 2010. The aim of the review is to determine whether a default retirement age of 65 is still appropriate or whether it ought to be altered or removed.

As we reported in the October edition of Bite Size, the High Court in the Heyday Case recently held that the law that permits employers to dismiss employees on their 65th birthday (without the need to make a redundancy payment) was lawful and not inconsistent with the Equal Treatment Directive. Their Lordships did, however, stress that there was a "compelling case" for a change in the default retirement age to bring it up to date.

To facilitate the review that is due to commence next year, the Government has undertaken a survey of employers' policies, practices and preferences relating to age, looking specifically at the use of the default retirement age in practice. The Government has also requested information from various businesses and individuals by 1 February 2010 to assist in the review, including details of:

  • How the default retirement age operates in practice;
  • How the default retirement age operates in practice;
  • Why businesses use mandatory retirement ages;
  • What the impact would be on businesses, individuals and the economy of raising or removing the default retirement age;
  • The views of businesses that operate without a default retirement age; and
  • How any costs incurred in altering or removing the default retirement age could be mitigated.

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