Headlines: October 7th, 2009

The Civil Service has scrapped the compulsory retirement age from clerks to permanent secretaries. This means that from April 2010 all staff who wish to carry on working after 65 will be able to do so.

The Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell said: “We should not put an artificial and unnecessary cap on the contribution of long serving, dedicated staff – at any grade. I am delighted that we will be freeing up the potential of our older, senior civil servants to continue to serve.

A recent High Court ruling means that the UK’s default retirement age will be maintained and employers are still able to force workers to retire at 65. The rules allow companies and public sector employers to set a mandatory age at which staff must give up their jobs, even if they are able and willing to continue working. Not all organisations choose 65, but many industries do opt for what is effectively the legal minimum.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has called on the government to scrap the default retirement age. Legal group director, John Wadham, said: “The judge has sent out a strong signal that it is only a matter of time before the default retirement age of 65 is removed, and we will consider what action we could take next.”