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Will the Retirement Age be Scrapped

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Retirement Age Scrapping Retirement Age

Retirement age legislation is a very topical issue yet it would be impossible to try to predict future government legislation and whether or not the legislation pertaining to a person’s retirement age will be scrapped in the future. However, legislation with regard to age discrimination which came into force in 2006 and which made it easier for people beyond statutory retirement age to continue working would appear to suggest that the statutory retirement age could indeed be raised or perhaps even scrapped in the future and there will be another important review of this issue in 2011.

What Does The Current Legislation Mean?

The age discrimination regulations which were introduced in 2006 were brought into force to give age discrimination issues as much weight as those currently in place relating to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability and other areas where people have suffered from discrimination. With regards to retirement in particular, it has improved people’s rights if they want to work for longer and retire later and all employers must now consider such requests to work beyond the current statutory working age seriously. In most cases, the fact that you want to continue to work beyond 65 is often beneficial to employers anyway as it enables them to retain key workers’ skills for longer, although it must be pointed out that they are under no compulsion legally to allow you to work past the statutory retirement age - just that they mustn’t simply dismiss your request or refuse to let you work beyond retirement age simply on the basis of your age itself. In other words, they must consider your request seriously and if they turn it down, they need to be able to justify their validity in doing so.

What Are The Reasons Behind This And The Benefits

For the Government, the advantages of people wanting to work past statutory retirement age are obvious. It provides more people filling jobs which might otherwise remain unfilled whilst also easing the burden on state pensions and it increases the number of people available to the UK’s total work force. At the same time, it gives workers themselves more freedom of choice. As people tend to live longer these days and are in better health overall, many people would actually prefer to remain active and continue to work for both the social interaction work provides and their desire to still contribute their skills to a particular job or career. Perhaps a more telling reason, however, is that from a person’s own financial standpoint, many people find that it’s only by continuing to remain in employment, be that full or part time, that they can continue to maintain a reasonable standard of living and not simply to survive on a basic state pension if that represents their only means of financial provision.

The Disadvantage Of Scrapping The Retirement Age Altogether

There are numerous reasons why some people are opposed to the scrapping of the retirement age altogether. Some people who have planned meticulously to be able to retire at the current statutory retirement age or would point to the fact that they wish to do so as they feel they have worked hard all of their life and wish to take advantage of many of the other aspects of their life that they could be enjoying such as taking more holidays and the increase in their leisure time and would not wish to see the statutory retirement age either raised or scrapped. In fact, there are many who would even prefer to see it lowered. Then there are others who feel that whilst they may want to continue working beyond retirement age, they’d prefer to do it on their own terms as in having the flexibility to choose the number of hours they worked and more say in when and how they worked these hours and by scrapping the retirement age altogether, they feel that there is an increased likelihood that they might not be allowed such flexibility and that set working conditions could be imposed upon them by their employers well into their 70s.

The debates on both sides of the fence are sure to continue and there are valid arguments for and against scrapping the retirement age altogether. What is certain at present, however, is that although there is no immediate suggestion that the current retirement age will be scrapped, there will be continued reviews about this issue and, in the meantime, the legislation introduced in 1996 with regards to age discrimination has at least put workers who want to work beyond the current statutory retirement age in a more powerful bargaining position with their employers should they wish to do so.

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