Older employees heading into dangerous waters?


Date: 4 December 2009

Talking to my dad, who isn't many years from retirement age, the other day, I was surprised to hear him say that he expects to work past 65. Then my mum walked in smiling with brochures for a cruise and it all began to make sense!

In all seriousness, recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals 71 per cent of workers aged 55 and above have had to postpone their retirement plans. Up from 40 per cent two years ago, the figures come as no real shock thanks to the current economic environment. Nearly three-quarters of over 55s admitted that money worries had forced them to keep working, with pension pots, savings and investments affected by the recession.

With more employees aiming to stay working for longer, employers must be aware they need to stick to age discrimination legislation, which makes it unlawful to treat people differently on grounds of age. On a personal level, my dad is concerned that the default retirement age, which allows employers to force people to retire at 65, may mean the option to retire is taken out of his hands, even if he remains fit and healthy. I think that's a shame, and I tend to agree with Age Concern's head of public policy, Andrew Harrop who argues; "Employers need to start seeing beyond job applicants' age and look at the skills‚ experience and commitment older workers have to offer."

But for my family, it remains a problem a few years ahead. For now my dad really needs to work on his sea sickness.

Visit the Law Donut for more advice on age discrimination.

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