Retirement policies vital as age discrimination claims soar
Recent research indicates that while 67% of workers believe they will need to work beyond the age of 66 while only 28% of those workers want to work beyond the age of 66. If your business is unprepared to deal with requests from employees seeking to work beyond their contractual retirement age, you are exposed to a significant legal risk.
Age discrimination claims up steeply
The Workplace Relations Commission annual report for 2018 confirmed that discrimination complaints on the ground of age increased more than threefold (343%) last year. This massive increase can be attributed to longer working lives and underprepared employers who do not know how to handle retirement.
If your business operates a mandatory retirement policy, it faces an increased risk of equality claims on the ground of age.
If your mandatory retirement age is not objectively justified, you will find it difficult to defend any such discrimination claims.
Increasing state pension age
Your position as an employer is further complicated by the fact that the age at which employees qualify for the state contributory pension increases to 67 in 2021 and 68 by 2028. If your contractual retirement age is lower than the state pension age, employees who intend to rely on the state pension as part of their financial planning may face a shortfall in retirement.
Retirement policies more important now than ever
As the state pension age increases over the next number of years, your employees are more likely to query your position on retirement. Likewise, if you have employees who are approaching retirement age, it is vital that you are prepared to deal with any queries that might arise around early retirement or extending employment beyond the contractual retirement age.
To reduce your exposure to an age-related discrimination claim, it is vital to have written policies and procedures in place to provide your employees (and yourself!) with a clear understanding of how requests around retirement will be dealt with and crucially why any specified mandatory retirement age is appropriate and necessary.
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