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Call to postpone withdrawal of default retirement age


The Government is being urged to postpone its plans to scrap the default retirement age (DRA) amid business concerns over the changes.


According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), UK firms could face a legal minefield because the Government has still not published details on how the reforms will work.


Earlier this year ministers announced that the DRA will be abolished from 1 October 2011. The proposals allow for a six month transition from the existing regulations, meaning that the changes will begin to take effect from next April.


However, the CBI has warned that employers have not been given sufficient time to prepare for the changes and that the on-going uncertainty could lead to more claims for unfair dismissal. It also wants to see the law on unfair dismissal simplified ahead of the reforms.


‘In certain jobs, especially physically demanding ones, working beyond 65 is not going to be possible for everyone,’ said John Cridland, the CBI's director-general designate.


‘In the majority of cases this will not be an issue, but in a minority it will be a serious problem for all concerned. The Government needs to act fast, and there should be no changes to the retirement framework until these issues are resolved.’


Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department for Business said the Government was ‘committed to helping and supporting employers adapt to the change’.


He continued: ‘Our consultation asked what kinds of support are required and we will be publishing our response shortly, but many of the 500 respondents strongly support the plan that we have set out.’