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Bill to allow employees to work until 66
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07 Mar 2024 / legislation Print

Bill to allow employees to work until 66

The Government has approved the drafting of a bill that would allow, but not compel, employees to stay at work until the State-pension age of 66.

Under the proposals, a clause in a contract of employment that sets a mandatory retirement age below 66 would not be enforceable without the consent of the employee.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said that the element of consent contained in the bill reflected the fact that many employees might want to retire at the contractual retirement age.

Under the Employment (Restriction of Certain Mandatory Retirement Ages) Bill 2024, there will be some exemptions – for retirement ages that are set out in law, or in limited circumstances where the employer can provide objective justification for the retirement age.

The legislation will apply to existing and new contracts.

‘New employment right’

“The introduction of this legislation is a crucial step in improving adequacy of income for older workers, and effectively creates a new employment right,” said Simon Coveney (Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment).

There is currently no general retirement age for employees in Irish legislation. In certain public-sector jobs, statutory retirement ages may apply.

Under equality legislation, an employer is currently permitted to set a retirement age, but only in circumstances where it can be objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.

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