Last October the UK government pledged to remove the compulsory retirement age for all junior civil servants. The Cabinet Secretary has now promised to do the same for senior civil servants, making the civil service “retirement free”.
From April 2010 all civil servants who wish to continue working after 65 will be able to do so. Each government department will be responsible for implementing the change by the end of March 2010. Sir O’Donnell said that the change will end the “artificial and unnecessary cap” placed on civil servants and give those with experience the opportunity to continue working.
At present employers may require employees to retire after the default retirement age (“DRA”), currently 65. This rule recently survived a legal challenge in the recent Heyday case, but is due to be reviewed by the government in 2010 (see links in Related articles below).
This announcement comes shortly after the High Court ruling in the Heyday case and may foreshadow the government scrapping the DRA completely, or at least increasing it. Removal of the DRA will complicate retirement issues for employers and could leave them exposed to forced retirement related claims.
Employers should follow developments in this area closely.
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