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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Hi, I live in England. I am 62. When I am 65 do I have to retire?

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Hi, I live in England. I am 62. When I am 65 do I have to retire? Can my employer force me to retire?On the other hand, can I retire early, say 63 or 64? If so, do I get a full state pension?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Retiring an employee because they have reached the old retirement age of 65, or any other age for that matter, is now unlawful. The Default Retirement Age was abolished in April 2011 and since then employers have been unable to forcefully retire employees due to their age.


So whilst employers can no longer regard 65 as the "safe" age at which to retire employees, they will instead have to show objective justification for dismissing by reason of retirement. Whether employers keep fixed retirement ages or decide when to retire people on a case-by-case basis, they will have to objectively justify the decision to retire. This will require identifying a legitimate aim being pursued and showing that the means used to pursue it are proportionate


What reasons would qualify as being objectively legitimate will very much depend on the circumstances and will evolve through case law with time, but as an example they could include:

  • Workforce planning

  • Promoting the recruitment and retention of younger employees

  • Contributing to a pleasant workplace and protecting the dignity of older workforce by not requiring them to undergo performance management procedures

  • Protecting against incompetence

  • Ensuring a high quality of service

  • Having an age-balanced workforce, as this can promote the exchange of experience and innovation, and therefore contribute to the quality of the work

  • Avoiding adverse impact on pension and benefits, that is, the increased cost of extending such benefits to older workers


So whilst dismissal purely because an employee has reached a certain age is no longer possible, there are still age-related reasons which an employer can use to dismiss an employee, provided they are considered reasonable in the circumstances.


If you were to retire early then whether you get your State Pension and how much you get depends on several individual factors. I cannot cover all possibilities here as there are too many but I suggest you consult the Government's advice page here, which should explain everything in more detail and allow you to calculate what you may be due:

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