By Max Clarke

Employers need to refresh their approach to people management, policies and practices, to ensure they are in line with the changing age issues reflected in both the Equality Act and abolition of the default retirement age (DRA). Updated guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Managing Age, will help address the challenges that many organisations face today.

The guide supports Acas guidance on managing without a retirement age and will offer employers and unions ways to develop and cement good employment practice to gain the most benefit from an increasingly diverse workforce. The CIPD has consistently worked to demonstrate that this is not only good for the well-being of workers, but also for business and the economy as a whole. HR professionals will be able to follow practical and up-to-date guidance on flexible retirement, recruitment, selection and promotion, pay, benefits and pensions, appraisals and performance management, training, health and safety, redundancy and termination issues - all of which help to support and sustain business success.

Dianah Worman OBE, Diversity Adviser, CIPD, says: “Our research has shown that many employers already recognise the valuable contribution made by older workers. The challenge now is to move away from the outdated mindset of some employers who may feel that older workers are past their sell-by date.

“The abolition of the DRA has removed the ‘easy option’ of an arbitrary retirement age, forcing employers to step-up to the challenge of developing more effective performance management. With this in hand employers will be able to focus on the benefits and unique contribution they can gain from better performing older workers, such as their skills and experience, which they can both apply directly and share with other colleagues through coaching and mentoring. A significant proportion of workers do plan to carry on working beyond the traditional retirement age, due to both financial and personal reasons, but also thanks to more flexible approaches to retirement. Employers seem to be recognising this need as the appetite of older workers to work longer continues to rise.

“We hope this guide will help smooth the transition within the employment cycle and the extension of working life, giving employers a valuable opportunity to take a ‘rain check’ and make sure their policies and practices are up-to-date.”

Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights, TUC, said: “Scrapping the default retirement age — a law well past its sell-by date — is a welcome step forward in helping businesses manage the retirement of staff in a fair way.

“But while most employers have already moved on from retiring staff without consultation, some do need to refresh their employment practices and this guidance provides all the information that they need.

“We’re particularly keen to see more employers offering flexible working, so that older workers can phase their retirement. This approach can benefit employers, older workers and new staff looking to benefit from their colleagues’ experience.”