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Retirement age laws may need to be changed

The inclusion of specific retirement ages in contracts of employment may have to be looked in the context of recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings, according to the Government.

In a Dail reply to a question from Independent TD Catherine Murphy, the Minister for Health, James Reilly – on behalf of the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton – said:

“The Employment Equality Acts contain a provision permitting the inclusion of a specific retirement age in a contract of employment. However, it is noted that rulings of the European Court of Justice under EU employment equality directives in regard to the issue of compulsory retirement ages may have implications in this regard and these will need to be examined.”

Deputy Murphy’s question was raising the issue of what happens from January 2014 to workers to reach 65 and are compelled by their employers to retire, yet will not qualify for the State Pension until they reach the age of 66.

(Currently those retiring at 65 receive the State Pension (Transition) for a year until they get the State Pension at 66, but this transitional pension is to be abolished from January 2014, as part of the gradual raising of the retirement age.)

Deputy Murphy said those forced to retire at 65 will be forced to apply for Jobseekers’ Benefit, which is €40 per week less than the State Pension.