Retirement age in Ireland
A mandatory retirement age has not been established in law here in Ireland, but the majority of employment contracts including those in the public service specify a mandatory retirement age of 65.
With the Irish courts experiencing an increasing amount of age related discrimination litigation, the matter of what mandatory retirement age should be used is certainly up for discussion.
This issue has been before the courts here in Ireland, as recently as March 2011, the High Court rejected a challenge to the HSE’s mandatory retirement age of 65, where the Judge held that the employee’s contract of employment contained an implied retirement age on the basis of custom and practice.
It would appear inevitable that there will be more litigation in this area and so employers operating a mandatory retirement age should take the opportunity to examine whether their retirement policy has a legitimate business aim which can be objectively justified eg: wishing to free up higher level jobs to act as an incentive for younger staff and thus increase competitiveness.
These attempts at justification may be examined by a court or employment tribunal in the case of a challenge and will have to meet genuine needs of the business in question.