We have had a number of enquiries recently about the retirement procedures under Schedule 6 of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. As the notification timescales are important I thought it would be worth a blog as a reminder. An employer’s failure to comply could result in claims for unfair dismissal and age discrimination from an employee which can be avoided if the procedure is followed.
To comply with the Regulations it is necessary to notify an employee in writing of the date of retirement and the right to request not to retire on that date at least 6 months and not more than 12 months before the intended date of retirement. This will usually be the employee’s 65th birthday which is the default retirement age set in the Regulations. If an employee requests the right not to retire then the employer must hold a meeting to discuss the request with the employee. If the request is refused (and there is no obligation to give reasons for refusing the request although the decision must be given in writing) the employer must offer a right of appeal and hold an appeal meeting if the employee appeals. An appeal decision must also be given in writing but again no reasons are required.
If the procedure is properly followed then dismissal for retirement at or over 65 will be fair and there will be no age discrimination (subject to the decision in the Heyday case pending in the European Court of Justice).
The important thing is to ensure the relevant date for notification (i.e. between 12 months and 6 months before the intended retirement date) is diarised so the procedure is followed to the letter.