The retail industry is relaxed about today’s government announcement that the Default Retirement Age (DRA) will be scrapped later this year, according to a spokesperson for the sector’s representative organisation.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) spokesperson Richard Dodd told Retail Gazette that the UK’s largest private sector employer already has a “high profile” when it comes to employing older workers and is proud of its record in this regard.
An announcement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills today revealed that the DRA will be phased out between April 6th and October 1st.
New guidance from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service was also published to aid employers in removing the legislation.
Some business groups have not welcomed the change, however, with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) suggesting the government has not addressed how firms will manage retirement on the basis of a performance appraisal.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General Designate, said: “The impact on employers, especially smaller ones, will be considerable.
“There is not enough clarity for employers on how to deal with difficult questions on performance. Less than three months is not enough time for businesses to put in place new procedures. The outcome will be more unpleasant and costly legal action.”
Dodd indicated that the BRC’s members do not share the CBI’s concerns.
He suggested that retail already has lots of experience in providing opportunities for older employees and can already boast of a diverse workforce that provides flexible working hours for all age groups.
Indeed, in light of these expected changes to retirement regulations, a recent report by Skillsmart Retail predicted that the number of over-50s working in retail is likely to increase by 22 per cent by 2020.
Dodd added: “Whereas retail is at the forefront of offering roles to older generation, including those above the current age of retirement, other sectors are not and could end up with messy disputes.”