When I'm 65...

The ruling of the European Court regarding compulsory retirement in Britain must have come as a bit of a shock to many people.  With an ageing population, increasing flexibility at work and relatively new age discrimination legislation, it was expected by some that this would be the first of many rulings signalling the end of mandatory retirement.

Although the final outcome rests with the UK High Court, the European court has ruled that British organisations can continue to enforce retirement at 65, with no redundancy package, without breaking EU legislation, as anti-age discrimination legislation excludes pensioners.  This has various implications for organisations: in today’s tough economic climate, this can provide a quick and easy way of cutting costs, but it has much wider social implications for quality of life, as people have their choices, opportunities and freedoms restricted, their power taken away from them, and in these tougher financial times, their ability to finance themselves restricted.

There are hundreds of cases still pending in both EU and UK courts around this issue.  It will be interesting to see the outcomes of this, and whether these really do pave the way for the end of enforced retirement, and the wider social implications of any decisions.    

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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Helen's picture


Guest specialist

This case has been referred back to High Court, so it will be interesting to see the outcome. There’s been an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the news from politicians of all parties – it feels like the mood is shifting and that people recognise the Government is really out of step in defending Mandatory Retirement Ages. Meanwhile, local Age Concerns and other organisations working with older people may have to deal with questions and concerns from the public, as some of the press coverage has been inaccurate. People may be thinking they can just be dismissed at 65, whereas the employer still has a duty to follow due process.

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