Monday, May 27, 2024

New legislation to allow workers stay in job until 66

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Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney has received approval from the Cabinet for legislation which will allow workers to stay in their job until they reach the State Pension age, currently at 66.

The General Scheme of the Employment (Restriction of Certain Mandatory Retirement Ages) Bill 2023 strikes out any mandatory retirement age which is below the State Pension age.

It will mean that if an employee provides written notice to their employer that they do not consent to the mandatory retirement age, the employer must not retire them before they qualify for the State Pension.

The legislation will now be referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment for pre-legislative scrutiny which is likely to begin after Easter.

Mr Coveney told Cabinet colleagues that the change would “allow” but not “compel” workers to stay in employment until they reach the State Pension age.

The change was recommended by the Pensions Commission.

Officials from the Department of Enterprise met IBEC, ICTU and SIPTU to advise them on the overall policy approach.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) welcomed the move to restrict the use of mandatory retirement ages by employers.

“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has long argued there is a sizeable and growing number of workers who are forced to retire earlier than they would wish because of the age of retirement in their employment contract, typically 65,” said Owen Reidy, ICTU General Secretary.

“This reform recognises differences between what workers want and the type of work they do in giving them more choice about the age at which they retire,” Mr Reidy said.

Change in retirement age for gardaí

The mandatory retirement age for gardaí has been increased from 60 to 62 (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

The Government is to change the mandatory retirement ages for members of An Garda Síochána, Defence Forces and the Prison Service in order to boost retention.

The mandatory retirement age for gardaí has been increased from 60 to 62, with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee saying it would help retain the knowledge and expertise of experienced people.

The General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors welcomed the move.

Antoinette Cunningham told RTÉ News it was a “welcome development for many members … who will be seeking to work beyond the current mandatory retirement age of 60”.

Ms Cunningham added it would “help … with current staffing challenges also”.

Regarding the Defence Forces, the mandatory retirement ages for all officers and enlisted personnel will be increased to 60 years of age, with the maximum age of recruitment increasing to 39 years of age.

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin said the move was a “further step” in addressing “recruitment and retention challenges”.

He added: “It is essential that the Defence Forces retain, and develop for the future, skilled personnel and key specialists.”

Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Seán Clancy said he was delighted with the announcement, adding this had been “an absolute priority for me”.

“This measure will allow experienced and skilled personnel to remain in their positions for longer, facilitating higher average career earnings and providing security of tenure for all members of Óglaigh na hÉireann.”

The announcement was made by Minister McEntee, Minister Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe following a decision by the Cabinet.

Mr Donohoe said the increases to the mandatory retirement ages of uniformed public servants “will be facilitated under the department’s fast accrual pension policy, which will provide the option to members to remain in service if they choose to do so”.

He said: “Fast accruals will be facilitated until age 60; if an individual remains in employment beyond age 60, their pension accrual reverts from a fast accrual to a standard accrual basis.”

Minister Donohoe added: “People are living longer, healthier lives and providing additional certainty in terms of retirement ages in the uniformed services is timely and appropriate.

“I fully support increases to the retirement ages in the uniformed services and the department’s fast accrual policy will enable this.”

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham

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