Government has approved the drafting of the Employment (Restriction of Certain Mandatory Retirement Ages) Bill 2024:

  • The Bill will implement a key commitment included in the government’s response to the Pensions Commission Recommendations and Implementation Plan.
  • It will deliver a statutory provision which will allow, but not compel, an employee to stay in employment until the State Pension age, which is age 66.
  • The Bill provides that in general an employer cannot set a compulsory retirement age below the State Pension age if the employee does not consent to retire.
  • This element of consent reflects the fact that many employees may want to retire at the contractual retirement age.
  • It also provides for certain exemptions, particularly in relation to retirement ages which are set out in law, or in limited circumstances where the employer can provide objective justification for the retirement age.

 

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Minister Coveney said:

I am very pleased that Government has agreed to the drafting of this important legislation.

We know that people are living longer and healthier lives which is hugely positive.

The series of landmark reforms the government committed to in response to the Pensions Commission report, which are being led by my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys, will ensure the pensions system is sustainable in the face of demographic change and that people relying on the State Pension have adequate and predictable income in retirement.

In addition to these reforms, the introduction of this legislation is a crucial step in improving adequacy of income for older workers and effectively creates a new employment right.

This Bill will reaffirm our long-standing policy to encourage and support longer and fuller working lives, where older people are facilitated in continuing in employment, if they wish to, until the age at which they can first access the State Pension.

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Minister Rabbitte said:

In recent years, a shift in perspectives on retirement has sparked new movements, challenging traditional notions of the post-career phase.

Rather than viewing retirement solely as an endpoint, there is a growing emphasis on embracing it as a new chapter marked by opportunities for reinvention, exploration, and purpose.

Movements promoting “unretirement” encourage individuals to stay active, pursue meaningful projects, or embark on second careers after leaving their primary occupations.

This trend aligns with a desire for continued personal growth, community engagement, and the pursuit of passions.

Initiatives such as “seniorpreneurs” and “silverpreneurs” celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit among older individuals, fostering a culture that values their skills, experiences, and potential contributions.

These movements not only challenge age-related stereotypes but also advocate for a more inclusive and dynamic approach to retirement, emphasising the importance of ongoing personal and professional development throughout the lifespan.

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and she continued:

Working beyond  can offer numerous benefits for individuals and society as a whole. It allows older individuals to stay engaged, both mentally and socially, promoting cognitive health and emotional well-being.

Continued employment can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment, contributing to a higher quality of life during the later stages of one’s career.

Additionally, staying in the workforce allows seniors to maintain or even enhance their skill set, adapting to evolving technologies and industry trends.

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From an economic standpoint, the experience and expertise of older workers can be valuable assets, contributing to productivity and knowledge transfer within organisations.

Overall, encouraging and supporting work opportunities for individuals over the age of 65 not only benefits them personally but also contributes positively to the broader workforce and society.

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