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The Queen isn't the only one working in her 80s

Some jobs are for life, literally. The Queen is 88 this year, and has been undertaking her public duties as reigning monarch for 62 years. News that she is to merge her press office with Prince Charles prompted many commentators to talk about a 'gentle succession', 'job sharing' and a slow 'transition' of duties to her son.

Our ageing workforce

While it may not seem the rarefied workings of the royal family have implications for the goings-on in the average office, the story highlights some truths about older workers in the post-Default Retirement Age (DRA) workplace.

There are now 32,000 people in the UK who are still working away in their 80s - and this figure has increased by more than half in the past 10 years.

Some 324,000 people are working at age 70 and over, and just over a million workers are over the age of 65.

The law change has allowed employers to retain people with valuable knowledge and experience far longer than was previously possible - improving continuity by making it easier to pass on expertise to younger workers.

Some jobs can't be done in old age. Airline pilots, for example, cannot fly internationally past the age of 65. Employers can also operate a compulsory retirement age provided it can be objectively justified.

Transition to retirement

Moving to flexible or part-time work may give those nearing retirement a chance to keep in touch with peers, develop skills, and generate an income - all of which will smooth the transition when it comes.

Other possibilities might include job-sharing, changing roles, or getting staff to coach or mentor younger employees.

Extending the working life of staff not only helps fill skill shortages, but gives workers who are not ready to retire the chance to go on working and earning.

And when time comes to go, pre-retirement training can help older workers make the transition to life after work.

Acas services

If you have any questions about Retirement and any other employment relations issues, you can get free, impartial advice from the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Acas can visit your workplace and raise staff awareness on issues surrounding age, age discrimination and diversity; see Equality and diversity: how Acas can help. Acas also offers practical training on issues surrounding Age and the workplace and Flexible working.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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