The Government has announced its intention to phase out the Default Retirement Age of 65 from 1 October 2011. Transitional arrangements have been published which will enable retirements due before 1 October 2011 to proceed as planned. From October 2011, employers will not be able to require an employee to retire (leave employment on reaching a particular age), save where they decide to apply an Employer Justified Retirement Age.
During Michaelmas Term 2010, the Personnel Committee and Council considered the potential impact of the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) in the context of the government consultation on these proposed changes. Those bodies agreed that maintaining predictable retirement ages was desirable, not least in relation to academic staff, in order to assist academic and financial planning, to maintain opportunities for career progression, to promote diversity in the workforce, and to avoid invidious performance management processes where members of staff did not wish to retire.
Council therefore asked the officers to develop proposals that might enable the University to continue to implement a normal retirement age, for some categories of staff at least, once the DRA was phased out, and to seek legal advice as appropriate on this matter.
It was recognised that, in respect of joint appointments in particular, close liaison with the colleges would be essential as the situation developed. The Conference of Colleges was therefore invited to nominate representatives to work with representatives of the Personnel Committee on this issue.
The Personnel Committee has consulted divisional and college bodies, as well as the joint committees with staff representatives, on a proposal to maintain an Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) of 67 for all academic and academic-related staff, for an initial period of 10 years. This would be coupled with a process under which requests from staff to continue employment beyond the EJRA would be considered against agreed criteria, and with a right of appeal where such requests were turned down.
The consultation closed on 18 March 2011, and an update will be provided in due course.