Thursday, October 11, 2007

United Kingdom: Government Seeks Feedback on Flexible Retirement

The United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions has issued a consultation, seeking views on key issues raised by industry since the implementation the pension provision of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations in December 2006, particular application of the regulations in relation to flexible retirement and pension provision. The Department believes that there is still confusion as to whether the age rules can allow more flexible retirement.

The issue is especially important, since the government considers flexible retirement key to meeting the challenges of an ageing population by providing choices and opportunities for older people to plan how they want to stop working. "Increasing the incentives to work for longer will give individuals the opportunity to plan for a longer working life and save towards a more financially secure retirement." However, because of the age rules, "[e]mployers and the pensions industry may be reluctant to implement change without case law and therefore are cautious in proposing modifications to a scheme which could be considered discriminatory or which cannot be objectively justified if challenged."

Thus, in the consulation, the Department seeks responses to, among other questions:
Q1. We would welcome your views on what you believe might constitute direct or indirect age discrimination in relation to flexible retirement.

Q2. It would also be helpful if you could indicate practices which you believe should be exempt or which could be objectively justified.
Source: Department for Work and Pensions "Flexible Retirement & Pension Provision" Consultation Document (October 10, 2007)

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