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What’s the answer? When does retirement officially start?

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This week Stephanie Wootton, employment law expert, Browne Jacobson and Nicholas Snowden, senior solicitor at Clarkslegal LLP present their ideas on defining retirement dates.



The question:
“We have an employee who is 65 on 1 December and is retiring. He wants to know when his last day of work will be. Is it his actual birthday or the day before? He doesn’t want to work any longer than necessary!”

Liz Wragg

The answers:
Stephanie Wootton, employment law expert, Browne Jacobson
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You may find guidance on intended retirement dates to be in the contract of employment and/or company handbook – for example, these may state that employment will terminate with effect from the last day of the month in which the employee turns 65.

If there is no such provision, then subject to any pension scheme rules, you should be able to agree whatever termination date you wish with the employee. If both parties are happy for his last day of work to be 30th November, then his retirement can begin on his 65th birthday.

Stephanie can be contacted at: [email protected]

Nicholas Snowden, senior solicitor at Clarkslegal LLP
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This is a contractual issue. Does the employee have a clause dealing with retirement in his contract?

If he does, and that retirement age is applied to employees of his type in practice, this clause will dictate whether or not the employee in question needs to work on the date of his 65th birthday or not. You need to examine the precise wording of the clause and if that does not provide the answer, seek advice on the clause from a solicitor.

If the employee’s contract does not contain a clause dealing with the retirement age, but 65 is the accepted retirement age as a matter of custom and practice, it will be a matter of finding out what other retiring employees have done in the past.

Hopefully somone will remember when the last person to retire went and whether or not they attended work on their 65th birthday. If nobody can remember, you will have to take a policy decision, document it and stick to it for future cases.

It does not sound like it is the case here, but it can be possible for there to be no normal retirement age at all. This might happen where there is no contractual clause dealing with the issue and no practice has built up of compulsory retirement at a particular age.

Nicholas Snowden can be contacted at [email protected]

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HRZone highly recommends that any answers are taken as a starting point for guidance only.

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