By Marcus Leach

A survey conducted by the Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS) has warned that over half of UK's small firms are unprepared for the impending scrapping of the default retirement age (DRA).

As of 1st October the DRA will be abolished, meaning companies will no longer be able to force their staff to retire at age 65, and many are unprepared for the knock-on financial implications of this change.

The ELAS report, that surveyed 1,000 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), found that most were unprepared for the rising cost of private health insurance, as well as workplace adjustments for staff with disabilities.

ELAS’ head of employment law, Peter Mooney, said that the majority of small firms were aware of the rule changes and when it was due to take effect, but many were still struggling with how to apply the new rules.

“It seems many businesses haven’t actually thought through how the new law will affect them in practice," Mr Mooney said.

"Expensive death-in-service benefits and healthcare benefits are just two examples of how employing older workers will affect businesses. Risk assessments, access requirements and adjustments for disability may also need revision as workforces grow older.”

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