The long-awaited DWP response to the flexible retirement consultation has been published and the DWP’s decision is to do nothing.

In December 2008 the DWP consulted on alternative sets of draft regulations that would add a further exception to the non-discrimination rule under the age regulations to facilitate the setting up of flexible retirement arrangements.

The reasons given for the decision are that

  • the evidence shows that flexible retirement arrangements have been successfully set up within the current framework; and
  • a number of respondents to the consultation doubted that “flexible retirement” was discriminatory.

The DWP accepts that there remains significant uncertainty surrounding the interaction between the Acquired Rights Directive, the Age Regulations and flexible retirement practices. The DWP will therefore consider issuing further general guidance on occupational pension schemes and age discrimination. The development of any future guidance would take into account the Equality Bill currently before Parliament and examples of current best practice.