Pensions: reflecting and driving changes in the world of work

by | Oct 1, 2022 | Pension History

On 1st October 2011, after a transitional period, the Default Retirement Age of 65 was finally abolished. Employers could no longer compel employees to retire at 65 without objective justification, reflecting changes in social and political priorities. The DRA had been introduced only five years earlier and was a compromise designed to meet employer concerns while complying with European age discrimination legislation. It set retirement at age 65 but allowed employees to ask if they could continue working (employers could refuse). The minster at the time remarked that, while an increasing number of employers were able to organise their business around the best practice of having no set retirement age for all or parts of their workforce ‘…some nevertheless rely on it heavily.’

By 2009, the mood music had changed. The then Prime Minister Gordon Brown believed that allowing older people to continue working ‘could be a big factor in the success of Britain’s business and our future economic growth’ while the TUC welcomed more choice for employees – as long as adequate pensions were maintained.

By 2013, when the ACA’s Smaller Firms’ Pensions Survey was published, over half of the firms surveyed expected that over the next 15 years the age at which employees typically retired from their business would rise to 68 or older, with a quarter of employees expected to retire at or after age 70.

The Pensions Archive Trust

Jane Marshall (Director)

First published in Pensions Age magazine, October 2022 edition.