Friday, October 05, 2007

Ireland: Report Calls for Abolition of Mandatory Retirement

A call for an end to mandatory retirement was one of the key recommendations of the Senior Select Retain & Retrain partnership as part of its final report--"More than just a Number, Older workers in Ireland." “The impact which compulsory retirement has on people cannot be underestimated,” Age Action chief executive Robin Webster said that “[c]ompulsory retirement ages, whether in the public service or not, should be removed. It would not only give workers who wish to continue working the option to do so, but would also enable employers retain some of their most experienced and valuable staff.”

The partnership consists of Age Action, FAS, ICTU, PARTAS and Contact Recruitment, and was funded by the EU Equal Community Initiative. Other recommendations of the final report include:
  • Those who are made redundant or leave the workforce should be provided with the information they need to help them make this transition;
  • In facilitating diversity in the workplace, it is essential that in-company age awareness training become a routine part of good HR practice, also leading to an improvement in inter-generational communications within companies;
  • Older workers need to be assisted in knowing how to sell their experiences and validate their competencies, regardless of formal qualifications;
  • employers need to examine work practices and make flexible work arrangements available, inclduing part-time work;
  • older workers should benefit equally from access to training and courses should be more geared towards their personal and professional development;
  • there is a need for a one-stop shop for employment services for older people.
According to the Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, the recommendations bear serious consideration by policy-makers, practitioners and decision-makers: "Dissemination of the findings of the project’s work and of the lessons learned will be invaluable both in the policy making process and in generating public awareness generally of the issues involved."

Sources: Age Action Ireland "Time has come to abolish the mandatory retirement age" (October 4, 2007); The Irish Times "Call for end to mandatory retirement age" (October 4, 2007); Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Address by Minister Michael Martin at the “Experience has a Future” Conference (October 4, 2007)

Additional Resources: Senior Select Retain and Retrain "Older Workers & Employment Agencies in Ireland" (September 2007)

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