Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Commission response to the government announcement that the default retirement age will be abolished

Government acknowledge that keeping older Britains in the workforce has benefits all round

Baroness Margaret Prosser, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: 

"We believe today’s announcement abolishing the default retirement age will make it easier for businesses planning their workforce.  

“It will simplify retirement planning from what is, at the moment, quite a bureaucratic process.  Employers will now only need to assess the fitness and capability of their workforce, something responsible businesses will already be doing, giving everyone a level playing field. 

“We have been working for some time to open up more employment opportunities for older Britons and to ensure that they can continue working while they are willing and able.

“At a time when Britain faces its toughest economic climate for decades it makes good business sense to keep people in the workforce for longer; decreasing welfare costs and increasing spending power.

“Older workers have been telling us for some time now that radical change is what is needed to keep them in the workforce.  At the same time, employers have been telling us that it makes good business sense for them to be able to recruit and retain older workers. 

“We are glad that the Government has listened and acknowledged what we have long known; that keeping older Britains in the workforce has benefits all round.”

For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to Editors

In January 2010, the Commission launched Older Workers, Employment Preferences, Barriers and Solutions by Deborah Smeaton, Sandra Sandra Vegeris and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen and Working Better: The over 50s, the new work generation. These reports looked into the work aspirations of older workers and included a set of proposals for fundamental changes to employment policies for older workers and to address the challenges of an ageing workforce.

In July 2009 the Commission used its legal powers to intervene in the ‘Heyday’ case; a judicial review of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. See our Press release on the case.

In July 2010 the Commission funded and represented Mr Leslie Seldon’s claim in the Court of Appeal.  Mr Seldon was a partner in law firm who challenged his forced retirement at the age of 65.

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals. 

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