Wicklow TD Anne Ferris has published a Bill to prohibit employers from imposing compulsory retirement ages on their employees.
The Bill is based on similar legislation elsewhere, including the US, where compulsory retirement ages have been outlawed for many years, and the UK, where the practice has been outlawed since 2011.
“So long as an employee can still do the job then, they should be able to make their own minds up about when to retire,” Ferris said.
“The Bill is designed to combat ageism and to promote a more positive experience of ageing and more positive attitudes to older citizens.
“More and more jobs these days are in areas like service provision and rely on brain power more than physical stamina. Just because a person hits a significant birthday shouldn’t automatically mean exclusion from the workforce if that person wants to continue their working life.
“Lots of people like the idea of retirement, but many others would rather keep working. That should be a personal decision, not one to be taken by a HR department.”
The Bill will amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 to abolish mandatory retirement ages for persons able and willing to continue the job for which they are employed.
Exceptions are provided for certain security-related roles such as the Garda Siochána.
“While the new Bill prohibits mandatory retirement ages, it allows employer to provide financial incentives for voluntary retirement at a specified age,” Ferris said. “The emphasis will be on the voluntary nature of any such retirement, but a worker who wishes to continue in employment may do so.”