End of DRA Transitional Arrangements

September 2011

Between 6 April and 1 October 2011, the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 has been gradually phased out.

Transitional arrangements were in place from 6 April 2011, for those employees who reached the age of 65 (or the employer's higher normal retirement age) before 1 October 2011. Under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, employers were required to give a minimum of six months' notice and a maximum of 12 months' notice for retirement using the default retirement age. Employees who had already been given notice of intention to retire on or before 5 April 2011 could be legally retired after 5 April 2011, provided that:

• the statutory procedure had been correctly followed; and
• the employee reached 65 or the normal retirement age (if higher) before 1 October 2011.

New and updated documents in respect of the DRA were uploaded to the site in April News Article.

The last day employees can be compulsorily retired using the DRA will be 30 September and, from 1 October, employers will not be able to use the DRA to compulsorily retire employees.

In limited circumstances, employers will still be able to operate an employer-justified retirement age but such compulsory retirement ages are, in practice, very difficult to justify.

After 1 October 2011 and in the absence of an employer-justified retirement age, employers will only be able to dismiss an older employee by following a fair dismissal procedure and relying on one of the fair reasons for dismissal set out in section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (such as conduct, capability or redundancy). Employers risk age discrimination and unfair dismissal claims if they do not follow a fair dismissal procedure.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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