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Mandatory retirement rules 'should be axed'

Published 12/08/2016

Age Action hit out after advisers called for a shift in cultural norms over when people should stop work but stopped short of demanding reform to working into older age
Age Action hit out after advisers called for a shift in cultural norms over when people should stop work but stopped short of demanding reform to working into older age

The Government has missed an opportunity to abolish mandatory retirement rules, campaigners have claimed.

Age Action hit out after advisers called for a shift in cultural norms over when people should stop work but stopped short of demanding reform to working into older age.

At present employees stop at 65 but cannot claim the state pension for another year and that is to rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028.

Eamon Timmins, Age Action chief executive, said : "Every year older workers are forced out of their jobs and onto the dole because of mandatory retirement ages.

"While other countries around the world are abolishing these ageist restrictions and supporting older workers, our members will be very disappointed that there is no plan to do the same here.

"There are also no proposals to address the anomaly that workers are facing retirement at the age of 65 but unable to claim the State Pension until they turn 66."

The report for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform found income for retirees is going to become a bigger issue unless employers keep staff on for longer.

Its advisers found that Ireland should be a society that explores the opportunities associated with longer, fuller working lives by preparing properly for population ageing and supporting continued engagement in economic and social life.

The review did not examine pension entitlements.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said retirement age was a complex and multi-faceted issue.

"This is an important piece of work. People are, thankfully, living longer and healthier lives and this trend will continue into the future," he said.

"It will be important that the state, employers, trade unions and community and voluntary groups work together to advance this agenda and to ensure the recommendations are implemented, so we can provide for the future and plan for citizens' fuller working lives."

Mr Donohoe's department is to review the barriers stopping public sector workers from staying in jobs up to they are eligible for the state pension.

Age Action said it supported some ideas in the report including the need for more training as people work into older age and improving awareness among staff and employers about the benefits of working for longer.

Mr Timmins added: "I t's good to see the department looking at barriers faced by public sector workers.

"But the Government's national positive ageing strategy commits to removing the barriers to continued employment for older people and this report is a missed opportunity do just that."

The report for Government also said that workers should be facilitated with the option to work beyond normal retirement age

It also called for a code of practice to be drawn up around the issue of longer working and for em ployers to ensure that their policy on retirement age is clearly articulated.

It said unions and employers should improve awareness among both workers and employers of options, rights and responsibilities around longer working.

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