As of today, employers have only four weeks to issue retirement notices in reliance on the current default retirement age of 65. The last date for employers to issue retirement notices under the current rules is Tuesday 5 April 2011.

Subject to a 12 month transitional period, the default retirement age is being abolished with effect from 6 April 2011. We are holding a seminar, led by our Head of Employment, Richard Fox, on 7 April 2011 to examine the implications for business of the abolition of the default retirement age. Details of our seminar can be found here.

In the meantime, employers who plan on retiring employees in reliance on the existing default retirement age should be aware of the urgent need to start the process. Under the current rules, provided the employer follows the correct process and proposes to retire an employee at or above the age of 65 (or older, if the employer's normal retirement age is higher than 65) then the employer is protected against claims for age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

In essence employers can still lawfully retire employees under the current rules, with all the advantages they provide, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The notice of intended retirement must be issued on or before Tuesday 5 April 2011.
  • The employee facing retirement must have turned 65 (or the employer's normal retirement age if it is higher than 65) on or before 30 September 2011.

The employer must follow the correct procedure in relation to the right to request continued employment beyond the proposed retirement date.