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The Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 has been removed from legislation by the Government.
Alongside raising the state pension entitlement age this represents a move in Government strategy to encourage people to work for longer.
Staff now need to resign in order to retire from work.
Age Discrimination legislation outlines that a member of staff should not be treated more or less favourably because of their age, unless this can be objectively justified as a proportionate response to a legitimate aim.
It is therefore important, even before specific discussions about the future, to avoid making assumptions based on a staff member’s age, as this may also present potential for direct or indirect age discrimination:
To best support staff during their transition into retirement, it is important to be mindful of the potential impact the change may have on your staff member.
Whilst many staff may embrace this future change, others may be more apprehensive about the journey.
It is helpful to recognise that each staff member will approach and cope differently with their transition into retirement.
The following are some helpful suggestions to help managers to best support staff during their transition into retirement.
Be approachable and accessible so staff feel comfortable coming to you when they need to;
Create an environment of trust where staff feel able to be open and honest about their plans for retirement;
Ensure you understand the University's retirement process, so you know what is expected from you and your member of staff, as this will be helpful for the planning process;
Be prepared to listen and explore the staff members plans for retirement;
Be patient: making decisions in the early stages of planning and preparation may take time;
Be positive and encourage the staff member to focus on the future and the positive outcomes from retirement;
Encourage staff to make gradual steps for their transition, this may be achieved by setting short-term goals which will help maintain the momentum of planning and preparation;
Help staff to find solutions to any problems encountered within the planning process;
Promote well being during the change and transition process;
Ensure staff know where they can seek support and guidance from during their transition into retirement.
In addition, the 'Transition into Retirement’ model (based on other change models) may help both managers and their staff to understanding how people may cope with change.
This model may also help managers to support staff, by recognising what might be happening and why, and providing appropriate support and management skills.
However, it should be noted that this is just one model for coping with change, and that all staff will be different and behave differently.
Some staff will be more fragile, and their reactions may be much more extreme and prolonged, other staff may move much more quickly through each of the stages and may appear to adapt swiftly to the change.