Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ireland: Age Action Calls for Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age

Age Action has issued a briefing paper and called for the abolition in Ireland of mandatory retirement clauses in that every year force workers out of their because of their age. Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Mandatory retirement is simply age discrimination, forcing someone out of a job because they’ve reached some arbitrary age set by their employer."

The paper--"Mandatory Retirement: Age Action Briefing Paper No. 1"--sets out the legal and policy context for mandatory retirement clauses in Irish law and argues for their abolition. It explains that EU employment law forbids discrimination on the basis of age but a loophole allows Member States to treat workers differently if justified by a "legitimate aim." However, recent changes to the Irish pension system means that many victims of mandatory retirement clauses are not just losing their salaries, they’re losing out in State supports. As Justin Moran explained: “The Government raised the State Pension age from 65 to 66 and abolished the transition pension. This means a worker forced into retirement at the age of 65, the most common age chosen by employers, has no choice but to go on the dole for 12 months while waiting to receive their pension."
Justin Moran continued: “Courts have found that examples of a ‘legitimate aim’ can include forcing older workers onto the dole to make room for younger unemployed even though the evidence shows this does not lead to increased employment for younger people.

“Those countries with high rates of employment for older workers are also typically those with similar rates for young people.

“Government policy is to support longer working lives, to enable those who wish to work a little longer to do so, to value their contribution and their experience. But in practice, employers are permitted to get rid of older workers for no other reason than they turn 65."
Sources: Age Action Press Release (November 25, 2016); Irish Examiner "Age Action: End ‘ageist’ ban on working past 65" (November 25, 2016)

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