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Implications for employers of the abolition of the default retirement age


The key changes to the law on retirement are that the default retirement age will be abolished with effect from 1st October 2011 and Notices of intended retirement date cannot be issued from 6th April 2011 onwards.


David Regan, a solicitor in the Employment Team at Mundays Solicitors, explains the changes in detail.


The difficulties Succession planning - The most obvious diffi- culty for employers will be that there is no longer a ready-made timetable for retirement, meaning the path to senior positions could be blocked. Employers may also feel unable to ask when an employee is intending to retire, leading to ‘shock’ retirements that leave the employer without a proven successor. Employee Relations - Employers may also find it difficult to start discussions about retirement with employees as detailed above. Moving forward, employers will be faced with the unpleasant task of performance managing


longstanding, cherished employees if they are not up to task rather than allowing them to continue with the knowledge that retirement is just around the corner.


Flexible Working - In practice some employers may be happy to allow an employee to continue working as long as they choose, and many employees will most likely want to at least reduce their hours, if not finish working completely, as they age. It is important to note that the abolition of the default retirement age has no effect upon the flexible working law which is currently in place, and employers will not be under a duty to allow older employees to work reduced hours unless they are eligible for flexible working in the usual way.


Performance Management - Managers must ensure that performance management processes are implemented fairly across the entire range of employees in order to avoid any accusations of age bias, or trying to force out the older members of staff. In addition,


Criticism for businesses refusing royal wedding holiday


The GMB union has criticised employers for refusing to give their staff the royal wedding day as an additional holiday.


The union has "named and shamed" two companies that consider 29th April 2011, the day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, as a normal working day.


These employers are the Lancashire flooring firm Interfloor, which has 400 staff, and


concrete product manufacturer CPM, which employs 330 people.


Even though the Government has declared the royal wedding date as a bank holiday, there is no statutory necessity under employment law to guarantee staff time off for bank and public holidays, because they must abide by their employment contracts.


6 | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry NEWSFLASH


managers will need to watch for age related disabilities and, if any disability is found, will need to consider whether or not any reasonable adjustments may need to be made in relation to the employee and their employment.


Exceptions There are two exceptions to the abolition of the default retirement age: It does not affect occupational pension schemes and the setting of a “normal retirement age” for the purposes of occupational pension schemes.


Employers may withdraw benefits for employees at or over the age of 65 (with the age at which withdrawal will be legal rising in accordance with the state pension age). This exemption deals with a key concern of employers, namely that the rising costs of benefits and insurance for employees over the state pension age could make the provision of these benefits prohibitively expensive.


www.mundays.co.uk


BACHE Conference


The British Association for Cleaning in Higher Education will be holding their annual conference from 4th – 5th July this year at the Rootes Building at The University of Warwick. The main focus of this year’s conference is “Embracing Challenging Times.” Topics to be considered include daytime cleaning and sustainable cleaning, as well as benefits of paying a fair wage covered through various speeches and workshops.


For more information, please visit www.bache.org.uk


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