The Default Retirement Age (DRA) was previously 65 years old. However, since the introduction of the Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations in April 2011, the DRA was abolished. The law currently states that compulsory retirement constitutes direct age discrimination unless it can be justified.

When Can an Employee Be Forced to Retire?

Legally, an employee can retire at age 66 if they can no longer fulfil their job role, but this must be fully proven by their employer. Other examples that may warrant retirement are if the job requires physical work (construction), or if the job has a set age limit legally set (fire service).

Employer Alternatives to Retiring

An employer cannot stop an employee from working over their state pension age, but they can offer the employee financial incentive, commonly referred to as a ‘retirement package’. This can vary, but some companies will offer over and above the employee’s pension. It is important to note that the employee cannot be forced to take this incentive as this can be classed as age discrimination.

As an alternative to retirement, employers can propose reduced working hours, or a lighter workload if they find the employee is unable to fulfil their duties to their best abilities.

Do You Need to Inform Your Employer of Your Retirement Plan?

Your employer has the right to ask about your retirement plans, however, you are not entitled to talk to them about this if you do not feel comfortable. If you do decide to discuss your retirement plan, you are still allowed to change your mind at any time.

Can I Claim State Pension If I Decide to Continue Working?

66 years of age is currently the earliest age you can begin to claim State Pension, but this is expected to start increasing from 6 May 2026.

If you decide to continue working past State Pension age, you can choose to either claim or delay these payments. However, if you do defer these payments, there can be financial benefits to this.

If you feel like you’ve been forced into retirement or treated unfairly, Premier Legal is here to advise you on your situation. Get in touch with us today and find out if you have a claim.