Age old problem

The Government is asking for views on default retirement age policy. Edmund Tirbutt looks at where the consultation could lead the group risk sector

On 28 October government ministers called for businesses and individuals to submit evidence on the default retirement age to feed into next year’s review.

The advice they are seeking includes:

  • The operation of the default retirement age in practice
  • The reasons that businesses use mandatory retirement ages
  • The impacts on businesses, individuals and the economy of raising or removing the default retirement age
  • The experience of businesses operating without a default retirement age
  • How could any costs of raising or removing the default retirement age be mitigated and benefits realised?

Howard Rayner, group legislation manager at Canada Life, says: “The concept of removing or extending the retirement age is based on sensible ideals and principles but the problem is that when you translate these into the employee benefits area you can get unintended consequences. Nobody should assume that we already have a done deal and I urge providers and intermediaries to make a contribution even at this early pre-review stage.

“There have been so many recent examples of the Rayner: “Don’t assume we already have a done deal”government reaching bizarre initial conclusions on financial services issues and subsequently being forced into humiliating U-turns. We could all do without the cost and inconvenience of experiencing another such episode, so it is essential that the quality and quantity of submissions should not be affected by complacency.”

Submissions are requested by 1st February 2010 and should be emailed or posted to: DRA Evidence, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, V497, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H OET.