David Prosser: More haste, less speed on the retirement age

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Outlook No-one sensible disagrees with the abolition of the default retirement age, which the Government confirmed yesterday would take place on 6 April. No employer should be able to get rid of someone simply because of their age, and forced retirement is a much cheaper option than redundancy.

That is not to say, however, that ministers were right to ignore calls from business groups for abolition to be postponed for 12 months. There are some real worries about the new rules, not least from the perspective of employees. Some staff may now face intrusive monitoring of their performance as they get older, or find themselves excluded from benefits such as health and life insurance.

Equally, employers warn they will no longer be able to ask staff about their plans for retirement, for fear of being accused of age discrimination. That's unhelpful for managing the workforce.

This change in the law is widely supported. But it would do no harm to have a short delay to ensure that even the most old-fashioned of employers have no reason to complain.

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