Group wants mandatory retirement rules 'axed' as Minister hints at need to extend retirement age

Group wants mandatory retirement rules 'axed' as Minister hints at need to extend retirement age

Update - 2.15pm: Age Action hit out after advisers called for a shift in cultural norms over when people should stop work but stopped short of demanding reform to working into older age.

Eamon Timmins, Age Action chief executive, said: "Every year older workers are forced out of their jobs and onto the dole because of mandatory retirement ages.

"While other countries around the world are abolishing these ageist restrictions and supporting older workers, our members will be very disappointed that there is no plan to do the same here.

"There are also no proposals to address the anomaly that workers are facing retirement at the age of 65 but unable to claim the State Pension until they turn 66."

Group wants mandatory retirement rules 'axed' as Minister hints at need to extend retirement age

The report for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform found income for retirees is going to become a bigger issue unless employers keep staff on for longer.

Its advisers found that Ireland should be a society that explores the opportunities associated with longer, fuller working lives by preparing properly for population ageing and supporting continued engagement in economic and social life.

Mr Donohoe's department is to review the barriers stopping public sector workers from staying in jobs up to they are eligible for the state pension.

Age Action said it supported some ideas in the report including the need for more training as people work into older age and improving awareness among staff and employers about the benefits of working for longer.

Mr Timmins added: "It's good to see the department looking at barriers faced by public sector workers.

"But the Government's national positive ageing strategy commits to removing the barriers to continued employment for older people and this report is a missed opportunity do just that."

The report for Government also said that workers should be facilitated with the option to work beyond normal retirement age.

It also called for a code of practice to be drawn up around the issue of longer working and for employers to ensure that their policy on retirement age is clearly articulated.

It said unions and employers should improve awareness among both workers and employers of options, rights and responsibilities around longer working.

Earlier: Longer working lives are going to be a reality for people, according to the Public Expenditure Minister.

The Report of the Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives, launched by Paschal Donohoe earlier today stated that the retirement age may need to be increased.

The report was a collaboration between a number of Government departments.

It stated that Ireland needs to prepare for an aging population - and that a cultural shift is needed with regards to retirement age.

Minister Paschal Donohoe said that there are a number of reasons people are working longer.

Group wants mandatory retirement rules 'axed' as Minister hints at need to extend retirement age

"People are living for longer, they're healtier for longer, and in many, many cases people simply want to continue to be active and to work for longer," he said.

The report also raised concerns over the State pension.

Given current population trends, State pension spending will increase from €7bn in 2016 to €8.7bn in 2026 because of people living longer.

There are no clear recommendations in the report, just pledges that different departments will further look into the issue.

Age Action Ireland have called it a missed opportunity.

Minister Donohoe said that that retirement age and pension supports need to be addressed in future Government policy.

Commenting on the publication of the Report, the Minister said: "This is an important piece of work.

"People are, thankfully, living longer and healthier lives and this trend will continue into the future. An ageing population does create challenges as well as opportunities that need to be explored.

"We need a policy framework to support those who want to continue to make an active contribution throughout their lives, including through work.

"Together with the National Positive Ageing Strategy, the recommendations set out in this Report will help us to achieve that’.

"This is a complex and multi-faceted issue. I would like to thank stakeholders for their input to the Group’s work.

"It will be important that the State, employers, trade unions and community and voluntary groups work together to advance this agenda and to ensure the recommendations are implemented, so we can provide for the future and plan for citizens’ fuller working lives."


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