The Equality and Human Rights Commission is calling for full abolition of the default retirement age, the extension of the right to request flexible working to all and an overhaul of employer recruitment practices designed to prevent discrimination.
The call comes on the day the House of Lords is debating the Equality Bill.
The Commission points to research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research which shows that extending working lives by 18 months would inject £15 billion into the British economy.
The Commission has also published new research that shows 24 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women say they plan to keep working beyond the state pension age.
Older workers told the Commission that flexibility in hours and locations was crucial to keeping them in the workforce longer as they aimed to balance caring responsibilities and health needs with work.
Financial necessity is the most important reason to continue working. Baroness Margaret Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, says: “This is about developing a way of working that is based on the demographics of today’s populations and moving away from systems established when people died not long after reaching state pension age and women were supported by their husbands.
“Radical change is what older Britons are telling us needs to happen for them to stay in the workforce. Employers with a focus on recruiting and retaining older workers on flexible working arrangements are telling us it makes good business sense, allowing them to recruit and retain talent while meeting the flexible needs of their customers.”