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How to work without a compulsory retirement age

Author: Darren Newman


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  • Ensure that contracts and policy documents reflect the fact that employees are not required to retire at a specific age.
  • Only retain a practice of retiring employees if this serves a legitimate business need that cannot reasonably be achieved in a less discriminatory way.
  • Examine any age-related benefits to see if these can be extended to all employees or ensure either that they are covered by a specific exception or that they can otherwise be justified.
  • Consider introducing a policy explaining the process by which employees can indicate their intention to retire.
  • Ensure that discussions with employees do not pressurise them into retirement and are not based on any assumption that it would be right for them to choose to retire at a particular time.
  • Consider incorporating discussions about retirement into a wider process of discussing the employee's current work and future plans.
  • Do not act on the assumption that an employee who has indicated that they intend to retire will actually do so and do not subject employees who change their mind about retirement to any less favourable treatment as a result.
  • Consider offering employees who intend to retire access to appropriate financial planning advice.
  • Consider offering flexible working options to employees approaching voluntary retirement.
  • Ensure that performance management is carried out fairly and consistently regardless of the age of the employee.
  • Do not assume that a performance problem will soon be resolved because the employee in question is approaching retirement age.
  • Remember that problems with performance may be linked to a disability. Be prepared to make reasonable adjustments where appropriate.