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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4620

Retiring from work

Dismissal

Unless it can be objectively justified it is not permissible to dismiss someone on the grounds of retirement. In most jobs, workers can retire when they choose, but when they can take their work pension will be determined by the pension scheme and Equality Act rules. Employers cannot force employees to retire or set a retirement age unless it can be objectively justified - for example, maybe for post in an emergency service that requires a significant level of physical fitness.

Workplace discussions

Whatever the age of an employee, discussing their future aims and aspirations can help an employer to identify their training or development needs and provide an opportunity to discuss their future work requirements.

For all employees these discussions may involve the question of where they see themselves in the next few years and how they view their contribution to the organisation. A useful exercise is to ask open questions regarding an employee's aims and plans for the short-, medium- and long-terms. Some employers may find it useful to hold these discussions as part of their formal appraisal process.

The outcome of any workplace discussions should be recorded and held for as long as there is a business need. It would be good practice to give a copy to the employee.

Poor performance

If an employee is performing poorly the employer should discuss this with them to establish a cause. An employer should not ignore or overlook poor performance because there is an expectation the employee will retire soon. Employers should establish a reason for poor performance, setting improvement periods and agreeing what training and development would help the employee meet the business expectation.

Only if the employee fails to improve after reasonable steps have been taken to help them, can the employer consider dismissing them for under-performance.