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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Set retirement 'should be scrapped'
Employers Forum on Age logo
Three out of four people believe that they should have the right to choose when they retire, according to a new survey.

More than 40% believe that a set retirement age encourages age discrimination and should be abolished.


These results show that the UK is at a crossroads. There seems to be mass confusion and unrealistic expectations of being able to work for 30 years and then retire for 30 years. This is clearly not sustainable and it is a situation that will only get worse

Sam Mercer of Employers Forum on Age

However, the survey by Employers Forum on Age, a campaign group, also concludes that more than half of working people worry about how they will afford to finance their retirement.

The government must ban age discrimination in the UK by 2006 following a European Union ruling.

However, although the UK has a fixed age for eligibility for State retirement pension, it does not have a national mandatory retirement age.

Under current UK employment law, the right to claim unfair dismissal or a redundancy payment does not apply to persons who have reached the normal retirement age for their company or, where none exists, the age of 65.

Reluctant workers

While many people may have strong feelings about the retirement age, most people are looking forward to life without work.

Three quarters say that they would like to retire by the time they are 60 and a further fifth want to stop working sometime between 61 and 65 years old.

And for those planning to retire before 60, the majority say that the only thing that would make them reconsider is money, with fewer hours scoring a mere 13.9%.

Close to half also argue that a fixed retirement age enables people to retire with dignity, while four in ten worry that if retirement ages aren't fixed they will be forced to keep on working

Sam Mercer, campaign director of the Employers Forum on Age, said: "These results show that the UK is at a crossroads. There seems to be mass confusion and unrealistic expectations of being able to work for 30 years and then retire for 30 years. This is clearly not sustainable and it is a situation that will only get worse.

"By 2025, for every two people employed there is likely to be one retired or inactive person over 50. If we are to employ the talents of the UK workforce effectively, then the current concept of retirement needs a radical overhaul."

Culture change

Nationwide building society is one of a minority of employees that is considering allowing staff to work for longer.

It is considering to allow staff to work until they're 70, because it wants to retain skilled and experienced staff.

Earlier this year, the company found that 97.7% of employees aged over 50 were rated as good, excellent or exceptional, compared with 93.3% of those under 25.

See also:

16 Apr 00 | Health
Age discrimination 'rife' in NHS
14 Feb 01 | UK
Retirement ages set to go
27 Mar 01 | Health
120m to end NHS 'ageism'
08 Oct 01 | Business
Why key pension scheme is ignored
08 Oct 01 | Business
Stakeholder pensions
08 Oct 01 | Business
New pensions shunned by workers
12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Ageism watchdog proposed
31 Jul 01 | Health
Elderly 'wait longer in casualty'
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