Workers win the right to keep earning after 65

Workers have won the right to continue in employment beyond the age of 65 after the government confirmed that the default retirement age will be phased out from April 6th 2011.

No longer will employers be able to dismiss staff upon their 65th birthday on the grounds of age alone, once the abolition of the DRA takes full effect from October this year.

Only those individuals who received notice from their employer before April 6th, and whose retirement falls before October 1st, should now expect to still face compulsory retirement.

Workers such as air traffic controllers are, theoretically, the exception, as a compulsory retirement age will still be possible if employers can justify it, the business department said.

However for the vast majority of the workforce, the removal of the DRA means older people can remain in paid work for longer, reflecting the upward trend of life expectancy in the UK.

This increased longevity is why the government believes the DRA is out of date, but it is also unfair - because “retirement should be a matter of choice rather compulsion”.

Ed Davey, employment relations minister, added: “People deserve the freedom to work for as long as they want and are able to do so.

“Older workers can play an incredibly important role in the workplace and it is high time we ended this outdated form of age discrimination.”

Employers are worried about the resulting costs, but ending the DRA also spells the end of the associated red tape, including notice of retirement and ‘right to request’ work beyond 65.

Meanwhile, employers are being warned they must contribute at least 3 per cent of salary to pension schemes that employees win automatic enrolment in from October 2012.

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