Government brings review of default retirement age forward

The default retirement age could change sooner than expected, with the government set to bring forward a review on it by a year.

A review of the default age, which currently stands at 65, will now take place in 2010, rather than 2011, as the government seeks to drive economic growth.

The move was welcomed by campaigners. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “It cannot be right that an employer can sack someone simply for being too old.”

Denise Keating, chief executive of age campaigners the Employers Forum on Age, added: “We are absolutely delighted that the government has finally listened to reason and taken action to tackle an archaic system which allows the enforced retirement of people simply because of their age.”

However, a law firm specialising in pensions has sounded a warning. Faith Dickson, partner at Sackers and Partners, said: “It is not impossible that removing the default retirement age entirely could discriminate against younger people trying to enter a difficult job market.”

Risk and benefits management firm Aon Consulting has queried whether the review is needed. Matthew Lawrence, senior consultant at Aon, said: “Whilst we have always known it would happen I would question whether this review is really needed. The evidence shows that businesses are already adopting a pragmatic approach to retirement….81% of all requests to work beyond the default retirement age are accepted under the current rules, according to CBI research.”