Workers should not be forced to retire before state pension age, the Oireachtas committee says

Employers should not be allowed to force someone to retire before they reach the age at which they are entitled to a state pension, an Oireachtas committee has said.

Once a worker reaches the age of 65, he should have the opportunity to continue working if he is willing and able to do so, the Joint Committee on Entrepreneurship, Trade and Employment said.

The report states that forced retirement can lead to financial pressure if someone is not financially prepared to stop working and is dependent on continued work for their income. Necessary support to enable choice-based retirement should also be provided.

The committee made a number of recommendations in its pre-legislative scrutiny report of the General Employment Scheme (Restriction on Certain Compulsory Retirement Ages) Bill 2024, which it said aims to reconsider the fairness of forcing people to retire before they reach retirement age. State pension age.

It stressed the need to protect the state pension as a crucial source of income for the elderly.

“The discussion highlighted the difference between being forced to retire and choosing to retire based on individual circumstances,” said Committee Leas Chathaoirleach Senator Garret Ahearn.

The report also supports employees’ choice to continue working without the assumption that they have to prove their competence.

The committee was of the opinion that the provision requiring employees to give their employer three months’ written notice is burdensome for the employee and recommended that this responsibility be placed on the employers.

“Employers should engage in meaningful dialogue with employees about retirement plans and respect their choices and preferences,” the report said.

Greater flexibility

There should be more flexibility in all working patterns to create age-friendly workplaces as this would help expand the labor market, it was recommended.

The committee also looked at the need for greater support for wellbeing in retirement.

Further consultation between the department, the social partners and the Workplace Relations Commission should explore whether a pathway towards a more flexible ‘age-friendly exit’ can be developed, so that in the long term the idea of ​​a rigid termination date would become the exception and be replaced by a flexible one. date appropriate to a person’s circumstances.

The report also called for a comprehensive information campaign to raise public awareness of their rights and support in retirement situations, to support workers’ sense of control over their decisions.

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