By Claire West

Commenting on the government’s plans to phase out the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 by October 2011, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"The government has pledged to reduce the burden of employment law, but at the same time it is proposing to restrict businesses' ability to manage their workforce by phasing out the DRA".

“Many small and medium-sized firms value the DRA as it triggers a conversation about an employee’s future and provides both sides with an opportunity to plan. Companies value the skills and experience of older workers and most do keep them on. But, they also value the freedom to manage their workforce".

“Employers agree that the DRA is currently too low and needs to rise for both economic and demographic reasons. However, if ministers want to make a positive change, they should either raise the DRA in line with the state pension age, or offer employers a new dismissal route that helps businesses manage their workforce more effectively, regardless of age."