Requesting to work past retirement
If you are approaching retirement you should be aware of changes to the Default Retirement Age. Find out more about what will be changing.
Default Retirement Age
The law which allows employers to retire employees at age 65 without having to explain why is called the Default Retirement Age (DRA). This law is being phased out. If you did not receive notification of your retirement from your employer before 6 April 2011 the DRA will not apply to you.
If your employer didn’t notify you of your retirement before 6 April 2011
If your employer didn’t notify you of your retirement age before 6 April, they may still be able to decide at what age you retire. But they will have to show an Employment Tribunal that this dismissal was not unlawful.
These changes will mean that in most cases you can choose when to retire.
If you have been given notice of retirement
If your employer is retiring you using the Default Retirement Age then both the following must apply:
- they must have given you notice of your retirement date before 6 April 2011
- you must be aged 65 or over (or your employer’s retirement age, if that is higher) by 30 September 2011
If you have been given this notice you have the right to request to work past your retirement date. Your employer must consider this request.
Making a request to work past your retirement date under the DRA
Once your employer tells you that you are approaching compulsory retirement age you can make a request to work longer. You must make this request more than three months before your retirement date.
You must make your request in writing and state whether you want to continue to work:
- for a set period of time
- until a stated date
Discussing your request under the DRA
Your employer can accept your request to keep working past your retirement date. However, your employer may also want to meet with you to discuss your request. This meeting is your opportunity to explain why you want to work longer. Your employer could suggest different working hours and a different retirement date, other than the ones you have requested, or he can refuse your request.
At the meeting you have a right to be accompanied. The companion can be a worker or a trade union representative employed by the same employer.
The companion can:
- talk at the meeting, but not answer questions on your behalf
- talk with you during the meeting to discuss any issues
You must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. If it is not possible to hold the meeting within an agreed period of time, your employer may inform you of their decision in writing.
Getting the outcome of your request under the DRA
Your employer will inform you of their decision by an agreed date. Any decision should be given in writing and should show the date when your employer told you about the decision.
What happens if your request is rejected under the DRA
If your employer rejects your request, or suggests a new retirement date that is sooner than you asked for, you may want to appeal. The appeal meeting is the final opportunity for you to explain why you want to work longer. You should take all reasonable steps to attend the appeal.
At the appeal meeting, you can be accompanied as before.
Once the appeal meeting has finished, your employer will inform you as soon as possible of their decision. If your request is accepted, or a new retirement date or pattern of working hours is agreed, your employer should inform you of that decision. Any decision should be given in writing and should show the date the decision was made.
If your appeal is rejected, your employer is obliged to inform you of this in writing and of the date of your retirement. The employer does not need to give a reason why your appeal has been rejected. You cannot make another appeal.
Where to get help
For more help with employment issues visit the Employment section.