Default retirement age end hailed





Age equality campaigners today hailed the end of employment rules forcing people on to the "scrap heap" at the age of 65.







Bosses from tomorrow will no longer be able to set a mandatory retirement age, as the Government brings in changes to reflect people living longer and healthier lives.



A phasing out period of the default retirement age (DRA), which enables employers to force staff to retire at 65, is completed this weekend.



Liz Field, chief executive of the Financial Skills Partnership, said greater age diversity would make a more productive workforce.



She said: "In these difficult economic times, older workers can add resilience to a business's workforce, offering a vital blend of hard-soft skills that allow them to react in a more productive manner to economic crises."



However, some businesses have expressed strong reservations, particularly over how smaller firms will cope.



John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the organisation was disappointed to see the DRA scrapped and feared it could trigger costly legal battles.



He said: "This will also add to the fears of more employment tribunals if an employer does need to dismiss an underperforming member of staff.



"The FSB believes that the default retirement age should be raised in line with increases to the state pension age to take into account an ageing population."



He said many small business owners do not intend to retire their staff at 65 and understand the "valuable contribution" older workers bring.



The FSB said it was also concerned that the move could lead to fewer incentives or opportunities to hire and train younger workers.



Mr Walker highlighted an FSB survey showing 70% of respondents employ staff over 50 years old and a quarter employ staff aged over 65.



CBI chief policy director Katja Hall said: "The Government has dithered too long on this issue. The DRA was valued as it helped employers to plan ahead and manage changes to the workforce.



"We urgently need an effective new framework for retirement planning."



Employment Relations minister Edward Davey said it was important to remember that around two-thirds of employers already operate without fixed retirement ages - and many with retirement ages already offer flexibility for workers to work longer.



He said: "Retirement should be a matter of choice rather than compulsion - people deserve the freedom to work for as long as they want and are able to do so.



"This is an example of the state getting out of the way and having modern workplaces for modern times."



The new measures, which have been phased in over a six month period from April, allow for a few exceptions, such as police officers and air traffic controllers.



Saga director general Ros Altmann described fears that the change could bar younger people from finding jobs as a "fallacy".



She said: "If you have got more people working at any age they will have more money to spend and create jobs for more people...



"Everybody loses if you force people out of work, when it's a growing proportion of the population.



"If someone is still working they're creating wealth somewhere in the economy."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most