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Age concern loses pension row with European courts

The charity Age Concern has lost a court case against the UK government with regards to forced retirement at 65 years of age. The charity believes this is age discrimination and brought an action against the UK government through the European Courts. However, the charity was dealt a partial blow when the EU decided that UK employers can still force employees to retire at 65 years of age although they have to prove there is a legitimate reason and a link to social or employment policy.

The case could now go before a UK court where the government's policy would be well and truly put to the test. In a further development the UK authorities have confirmed they will be reviewing the 65-year-old retirement age in 2011 with an indication that it could be removed from employment law altogether.

While many companies in the UK do not strictly abide by the 65 year old retirement age where there is agreement from both parties, some companies have been known to use the pensionable age limits as a means of disposing of staff without paying them any redundancy, etc. It will be interesting to see how the UK courts respond to the EU ruling and ultimately whether the UK government is forced to review the formal retirement age before 2011.

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