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Can You Be Forced to Retire?

A withdrawal of a person’s employment or occupation from their active working life, due to a certain age, is known as retirement. A person may be fully or semi-retired as per the employer’s policy.

Recently the minimum age of retirement, which was 65 years previously, has been abolished. This implies that an employer cannot force an employee to quit their job, solely on the basis of their age. Many people are trying to delay total retirement by opting for semi-retirement, by reducing their number of working hours.

Can your employer force you to retire?

For several years, employers have forced workers to retire at the age of 65, which is still known as the default retirement age. This law, however, has been nullified since April 2011, which implies that a person can choose to keep working beyond the age of 65, if they need or want to.

However, there are some exceptions to this situation where an employer can lawfully force you to retire. To do so, the employer must have a valid reason.

You can be asked to retire early if:

  • Your job profile needs you to have a certain level of physical fitness or mental abilities
  • Your job has age limits set by another law

An employer must follow a fair procedure in order to force you to retire and must give you enough notice in advance.

It should be noted that employers still have the right to dismiss you in case you are underperforming, but to do so lawfully, the decision to dismiss you must be based on an objective criteria and not on the basis of your age.

Do I need to tell my employer about my retirement plans?

Employers prefer to know how long you are planning to keep on working for their business. However, they cannot force you to share your retirement plan if you do not wish to.

The retirement decision is something that is derived from several months of research, planning and discussion with your family. Therefore, you should not feel rushed or pressured to decide and inform. You need to think about certain important factors in order to make the right decision regarding your retirement:

  • The amount of money you will need in order to cover for your regular living expenses
  • What will you do with your pension allowance?
  • How your pension will be paid out?
  • What will be the entitled benefits in case of retirement or reduction of income
  • Where do you want to retire?

Do you still get a State Pension if you continue working?

The earliest age at which you can claim a state pension is known as the ‘State Pension Age’.

Once you are approaching the state pension age, you are given a choice whether to claim or delay your state pension payment. You may wish to deny or receive the pension irrespective of your employment status at that time. Needless to say, the later you claim, the more the benefits amount to. The ‘State Pension age’ is the earliest age you can claim the State Pension.

Some private workplaces have an earlier age limit whereby you can start claiming your pension at the age of 55 years. These schemes often vary from employer to employer. It is better to ask your employer about how your pension will be affected, in case you change your employment or continue working beyond the state pension age.