The draft Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011 were laid before Parliament on 16 February 2011. These regulations intend to give effect to the government’s proposals to repeal legislation which currently allows an employer to terminate the employment of an employee who reaches the default retirement age (DRA) of 65 without that being deemed unfair dismissal or unlawful age discrimination, provided that a statutory notification procedure is followed.
The regulations effectively abolish from 6 April 2011 the DRA exemption, including the notification procedure and the current right to employees to request to work beyond age 65.
In addition, they introduce a new exception to age discrimination legislation for group insurance benefits provided by employers for their employees by making it lawful for insurance cover to cease for employees at the greater of age 65 and the state pension age. It is unclear if this exemption would apply to benefits provided through an occupational pension scheme.
Since its initial introduction, amendments to the draft Regulations have been published following a purported drafting anomaly on the transition. Previously, the draft regulations permitted only those who attained the age of 65 (or, if higher, the normal retirement age) between 6 April and 30 September 2011 to be retired under the existing law. This has now been removed and the requirement is now simply that the person must have attained the relevant age before 1 October 2011.