Employment Lawyers Say Abolition of DRA Should Be Delayed

The Employment Lawyers Association has recommended that the removal of the UK’s default retirement age (DRA) should be delayed by six months in order to give time for guidance to be developed and for employers to prepare and adapt to the change.

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) voiced a number of concerns in its response to the government consultation on how the default retirement age (DRA) should be phased out.

At present, the DRA is set to be removed on 1 October 2011.  The ELA argues that, because under the current law, employers must give six months’ notice of retirement, in reality they only have until 1 April next year to prepare for, and adapt to, the change.

According to the ELA, employers are also concerned about discussing retirement plans with employees and on the right to flexible working for those approaching retirement.  It says that codes of practice or guidance are needed to clarify the steps employers can take without risking age discrimination claims from younger employees.

It has therefore recommended that the DRA’s removal should be deferred a further six months to give time for developing guidance and for employers to adapt. And it says that it would be counterproductive if rushing through changes aimed at prolonging working lives, resulted in employers prematurely retiring workers they might otherwise have kept on.

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