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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48156
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi, I am soon to be 65 years of age. I have an employment contract

Resolved Question:

Hi, I am soon to be 65 years of age. I have an employment contract dated in 2003 which states my employment will cease on my 65th Birthday. Has the new legislation on retirement any effect on this contract?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were you thinking of anything in particular?

Customer:

hi, Yes, as I said my employment contract states that it ceases on my 65th birthday. Does the new legislation affect this?

Customer:

I have not used a site like this before and I was expecting a reply sooner than this. So can you let me know how this works please.

Customer:

So what happens now?

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry my connection dropped earlier and it took me a while to resolve this. Is your employer trying to terminate your employment now?

Customer:

Hi, Thanks for your reply.

Customer:

I have been called in for a meeting on Thursday, so just need a little advice before I get there. There has been no mention of my retirement and I think they may expect me to just leave on my birthday as per the contract. I need to know if they can do this or should I have a period of notice.

Ben Jones :

Hello again, retiring an employee because they have reached the retirement age of 65, or any other age for that matter, is now unlawful. The Default Retirement Age was abolished in April 2011 and since then employers have been unable to forcefully retire employees due to their age. It does not matter what your contract says on this point as it would be overruled by the changes above.


 


So whilst employers can no longer regard 65 as the "safe" age at which to retire employees, they will instead have to show objective justification for dismissing by reason of retirement. Whether employers keep fixed retirement ages or decide when to retire people on a case-by-case basis, they will have to objectively justify the decision to retire. This will require identifying a legitimate aim being pursued and showing that the means used to pursue it are proportionate


 


What reasons would qualify as being objectively legitimate will very much depend on the circumstances and will evolve through case law with time, but as an example they could include:



  • Workforce planning

  • Promoting the recruitment and retention of younger employees

  • Contributing to a pleasant workplace and protecting the dignity of older workforce by not requiring them to undergo performance management procedures

  • Protecting against incompetence

  • Ensuring a high quality of service

  • Having an age-balanced workforce, as this can promote the exchange of experience and innovation, and therefore contribute to the quality of the work

  • Avoiding adverse impact on pension and benefits, that is, the increased cost of extending such benefits to older workers


 


So whilst dismissal purely because an employee has reached a certain age is no longer possible, there are still age-related reasons which an employer can use to dismiss an employee, provided they are considered reasonable in the circumstances.

Customer:

Hi, Thank you very much for the above advice. Do they need to give me a period of notice, or can they dismiss me without notice if one of the categories apply?

Ben Jones :

they still need to give you the contractual notice you are entitled to

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If not, please take a second to leave a positive rating Thanks

Customer:

My contract states in one part that 'your employment with the company will cease on' and followed by my birthday this year. In another part of the contract it states 'The period of notice to be given in writing by the company or by you to terminate your employment is one month'. I hope you can see my confusion.

Ben Jones :

forget the first part - that no longer applies.

The second part is wrong too - you are entitle to at least 1 week's notice for every year of employment up to a maximum of 12 so a month (4 weeks) is too short in your case

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you