Britain scraps forced retirement age at 65

Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:24pm EST
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By Caroline Copley

LONDON (Reuters) - Companies will no longer be able to force staff to retire at 65, Britain's government said on Thursday in a move to boost the number of older people staying on at work as the population ages.

Governments across Europe have lifted retirement ages as part of austerity packages to cut record budget deficits, despite widespread protests.

UK employers will be barred from issuing compulsory notifications for retirement from October, but will still be able to force people out if they can give a justifiable reason.

"Older workers can play an incredibly important role in the workplace and it is high time we ended this outdated form of age discrimination," said Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey.

Population projections suggest more than 10 million people living in Britain today will reach their 100th birthday, putting pressure on the government to reform pensions and increase the working age.

The average exit age from the labor market is 61 in Greece, 62 in Germany and 59.4 in France, European Union figures show.

Davey said there was no need to force people out of employment if they were still fit to work.

"Many older people have skills and a huge contribution to make to businesses and those businesses that have got rid of fixed retirement ages find it very beneficial," he told the BBC's Today program.   Continued...