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AOC Solicitors Update on the proposed Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age Bill

At the Dáil debate on the 23.2.2017 the Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2016 was referred to the Selection Committee on Justice and Equality.

It is worth noting that while the Bill envisages the unilateral abolition of mandatory retirement age in any contracts of employment, (with the exception of An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, fire services or security-related employment prescribed by the Minister for Defence) it already appears from the Dáil Debates that the public sector employees will be treated differently to their private sector counterparts.

It is proposed that the public sector in its entirety will not be subject to this unilateral abolition of the mandatory retirement age but will be subject to the mandatory retirement ages set out in the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 (“2012 Act”).

Deputy David Staunton has alleged during the Dáil Debates that the ages set out in the 2012 Act reflects “… currently 66; 67 in 2021; and 68 in 2028 – but it also incorporated a mandatory retirement age of 70, subject to certain exceptions. This was considered as an appropriate balance between making provision for longer working lives arising from the increased mortality expectancy of the population while incorporating a mandatory retirement age. The mandatory retirement age can be changed by order of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This approach reflects the approach at European level incorporated in the EU Framework Employment Directive 2000/78/EC which provides that national authorities can provide for mandatory retirement ages if they can be objectively justified..”

It appears from the above that it is not considered to be objectively justified for private and semi-state employers to rely on the mandatory retirement ages set out in the 2012 Act. There has been no explanation to date for difference in approach. We assume IBEC will be making submissions on behalf of such employers in this regard

the disproportionate approach to employers who will be facing the same difficulties as the public sector.

Anne O’Connell
Article Dated – 8th May 2017

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