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Dropping default age would harm business, say employers

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Business organisations have reacted with disappointment to news that the government is proposing to remove the default retirement age.

Scrapping the default retirement age would make it illegal for employers to oblige employees to leave their jobs as soon as they reach 65.

John Cridland, the CBI’s deputy director-general, said: “Removing the default retirement age and right to request working beyond 65 would cause significant practical problems for employers. Both companies and staff benefit from having a clear framework for the timing of retirement.

“We have always supported raising the DRA over time, to allow people to work for longer.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, also advocated an increase in the default retirement age rather than its abolition.

He commented: “It is strange that the government has pledged to reduce the burden of employment law – while at the same time proposing to restrict businesses’ ability to manage their workforce by abolishing the default retirement age.

“Business agrees that the DRA is currently too low – and needs to rise for both deficit reduction and fairness reasons.

“But if ministers want to make a positive change, they should either raise the DRA in line with the state pension age or offer employers a new dismissal route that helps business manage their workforce regardless of age.”