At a time when people are being encouraged to work for longer and save for their retirement and later care in life, then AgeUK (formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged) says that it is “perverse” that the barrier of a default retirement age is in place.
In 2009 around 100,000 people were forced to retire at or after 65 states the new campaigning charity for older people. The charity’s own surveys claim that the default retirement age is being actively used in the midst of recession to drive older people out of the workplace.
Michelle Mitchell‚ Age Concern and Help the Aged Charity Director‚ said:
Our survey clearly shows the use of forced retirement has spiralled out of control‚ offering some employers a low-cost shortcut to shed jobs during the recession.”
The Guardian has cited the case of Margaret Davison-Scott who was forced to retire from two part-time jobs she had with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council when she reached her 65th birthday. Somebody who was willing to work is now claiming a basic state pension.
The East Riding Council does have a policy where workers can request to be retained after the age of 65 – although this is not always guaranteed. It also funds the OWEN Project (Older Workers Employment Network) which supports mature people (45+) who are seeking employment in the Humber sub-region.
There are pressures on local authorities to offer more job opportunities for school leavers – particularly during recession – and a default retirement age is assumed to help free up jobs for that generation.
So…. is a default retirement age an easy option for councils wanting to save money by cutting jobs? Is it age discrimination?
What do you think? Leave comments below.