50% of employers want to keep default retirement age

Almost half (46%) of employers believe that it would be preferable for their organisation to have the default retirement age (DRA), says a survey from law firm Ashurst.

Despite the government’s recent announcement to abolish the DRA of 65 from October 2011, only 5% of professionals believe its removal will improve efficiency and 73% believe they will need to redesign their career and pay structures so as to accommodate older staff remaining in employment for a longer and unknown period of time.

Despite this, 61% believe having no DRA will not exacerbate potential social and other divisions in the workforce between older and younger employees.

Caroline Carter, head of the employment, incentives and pensions practice at Ashurst, said: “Many difficult issues are being raised for employers. One large concern for them is regarding dismissing under-performing older employees on capability grounds as this could give rise to allegations of age discrimination and tribunal claims. 

“In fact, pending clarification from the government, how to manage any potential termination conversation with an older employee could be problematic.†In the same way as an employer is warned about sex discrimination claims if it asks female employees questions relating to plans to have children, asking older workers about their future retirement plans could give rise to allegations of age discrimination.”

Read more articles on the default retirement age