Under UK employment law, the default retirement age is 65, which applies to both men and women. This means that if your employer tries to force you to retire under the age of 65, you should contact and employment solicitor to bring a claim for age discrimination and for unfair dismissal. However, if you are over 65 it is entirely lawful for an employer to force you to retire 鈥?as long as they follow the correct procedure. Employees have the right to request to continue working beyond the date when the employer wants them to retire. However, the employer is not required to accept the request and do not have to provide reasons for the refusal. You should take legal advice from an employment solicitor if your employer has refused your request. It is still possible for a person to choose to retire under age 65 if they agree this with their employer. The default retirement age only applies to employees and civil servants. Other workers 鈥?such as police officers 鈥?office holders 鈥?and partners in firms will not be covered and therefore forced retirement at any age will have to be justified. Employment law is clear on this point. If you are unsure of your employment status, and how the default retirement age would apply to you, speak with an employment solicitor as soon as you can. Forced retirement however is not automatic and employers must use the correct procedure under the age regulations. These include giving a notice of retirement (minimum of six months and maximum of twelve months). Such notices must be made in writing. The employer must also inform you of your right to request to continue working. Your request should also be made in writing 鈥?3-6 months before the intended retirement date and you must state that your request is made under paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 to the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. An employment law solicitor can help you make these applications and ensure that the Regulations are applied correctly in your case. You should make it clear whether you wish to continue working indefinitely 鈥?for a certain period 鈥?or until a certain date. Finally, your employer must then hold a meeting to discuss the request with you 鈥?within a reasonable period of time. You 鈥 檙 e entitled to be accompanied to this meeting by a colleague of your choice. You might want to take some legal advice from an employment lawyer before your meeting so you understand your rights under current employment law. If your request is refused 鈥?or your employer agrees to continued employment for a shorter period than was requested 鈥?you have the right to an appeal meeting. If any of the procedure has not been followed or you require further advice then you should contact an employment solicitor. Richard Einerhann works for Contact Law, the UK's foremost legal brokerage company - finding the right employment solicitors for your needs.
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